Contributor Spotlight: Kate Crosby


I once heard Michael Cunningham say that fear is the biggest hindrance to writing well. He said that the best writers are those who aren’t afraid to write poorly. They do not worry about how their work will be received or whether and where they will publish it. They write because the act of writing is fun. This is a great reminder when motivation starts to wane. Sure, writing is hard work but it’s also about invention and play. The very act is its own reward. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith 2017

One thing that keeps me writing is having a network of poets to share work and ideas with. “Self-Portrait” came about from reading Maya’s work and responding to some of her images and ideas through my own lens. Her poetry is, generally speaking, more personal than mine, and I admire it for that, and with this poem I let her striking honesty guide me into a more personal territory of my own. Continue Reading

Gore, Grit, Gristle, Bone

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In the darkest fairy and folk tales, there is the hollow sound of wood chopping to comfort abandoned children. There’s a wolf waiting in forest shadows for a red hood. There’s an intricately carved box meant to hold a girl’s insides, but a pig heart glistens in its stead, warm and leaking. In Julia Bouwsma’s debut poetry collection, Work by Bloodlight, readers will find the hungry children, the predators, the pig heart steaming in its own reek, and precious little comfort. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Frances Backhouse

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I think Canada is too big and too geographically diverse to contain a single aesthetic to writing about place and space—and for that, I’m grateful. Across our sea-to-sea-to-sea country, there’s room for a multiplicity of approaches to writing ourselves into and out from our landscapes. However, that doesn’t mean the full range of voices is making it into print. The more we hear from marginalized writers of all kinds—but especially Indigenous writers, whose roots go deepest—the more nuanced our understanding of place and space will become. Continue Reading

Bellingham Review Publishes Issue 74


The Bellingham Review is pleased to announce the publication of the fourth issue under the editorship of S. Paola Antonetta, Issue 74, which includes a special section of new writing from Canadian women titled “Place and Space in Canada,” the winners of our annual literary contests, as well as a remarkable collection of stories, poems, and essays from US and international writers. The issue features the painting “The Coming Storm” from Susan Bennerstrom, and we are thrilled to share it with you. Continue Reading

Between Creator and Creature

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What surprised me about these poems was finding out that part of Babbage’s impulse to quantify was to know the unknowable, “to calculate the probability that the dead will rise again,” how he might recapture those he lost: “Come back, he whispers, but the world he returns to remains flush / with the unwished for: the fading back of the lover turned to dust . . . ” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Nancy Gomez


I was teaching a poetry workshop at Salinas Valley State Prison. There’s so much sensory deprivation there—everything drab and colorless, but the men in the class are hungry for scholarly conversations. I shared an article on how language shapes our perceptions. In one study, children from a tribe whose lexicon didn’t include a word for blue were less able to “see” blue. This led to a discussion about how poets try to describe things for which words don’t already exist. Then someone asked, “Do they ever discover new colors?” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Leah Claire Kaminski


These pieces were both written while sitting on a patio in Irvine, CA, the ur-suburb where I’ve lived since grad school. Irvine is a strange place, and not one I love unreservedly, but where I am, the area around the university, there’s some untouched riparian wilderness left (as well as a golf course and some sculpted parks where nature makes do) so outside the patio in my apartment complex was this fake pond and there would often be a Great Blue Heron pacing there and picking up sticks for its nest, or Cooper’s Hawks circling. When I wrote each of these two poems, I was sitting on that patio, watching that pond for signs of the next poem. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Julie Marie Wade


At the time I wrote “Next,” the last poem in the series . . . , I was thinking a lot about posterity and lineage and visibility as a gay woman who was neither a wife nor a mother. I didn’t know in 2006 that I would ever be able to marry my partner legally—which I did (also in Bellingham!) in 2014—so one of the questions at the heart of the poem is “How will there be a record of our life together?” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Kristina Bicher


Even now, I can so easily recall my bedroom at night as a child: the palpable texture of the dark, the changing shapes of shadows and the passing lights that felt supernatural. And even if a sister slept nearby, you were always alone in your fear. Fear being so powerful and yet so amorphous that we need to turn it into form in order to confront it. I think a lot about how parents try and fail or don’t try to teach us what to do with fear or oddly seem to want to acquaint us with fear. “House by the Road” is certainly concerned with that. But also how as a child, feeling unsafe can contain an element of thrill; you can almost delight in how small you are, how easily overcome, swallowed up even by the dark wave that can destroy you but will also spit you out and then who will you be? Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Deborah Poe


I have nine copies of “Wing,” the 3″x 2″ letterpress edition on fabric for “Beryllium & Wing,” that I intend to send out after publication of my piece to nine close artist/writer friends and on which to collaborate. I will invite them to mar, trample, nest, or collage the little book so that these become nine other pieces in the world, investigating the kinetic page even further. See my “Statement” for ideas on “translation” relative to my multimedia work. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Victoria Campbell


This story is really important to me for a number of reasons, but most specifically because of form. Here, I moved away from more traditionally shaped narratives and started working with vignettes, the style I now most often find myself cleaving to. I see, remember, and interpret the world in images, so a story like this—one told in imagistic fragments—makes much more sense to me and was more organic to craft. Continue Reading