He Worked as an Electrician. He Enjoyed Television. (His Obituary Was Plain.)

After my husband’s grandfather dies, I buy our three-year-old daughter “Frida Kahlo’s Frocks & Smocks,” a magnetic dress-up paper doll with clothing and accessories: monkeys and parrots, a paintbrush along with skeleton shirt and pants, onerous scarves and bracelets. Our daughter drapes these accessories in the wrong places: a bracelet on Frida’s head, her monkey gripping the paintbrush and standing by Frida’s easel, which also sports the disembodied head of Diego Rivera. Continue Reading

Green

Green as Ohio’s Tea Hills, named for sassafras, a root boiled and steeped for tea; green as panes of window glass on end, green as deep basins of river water that slow but do not stop, green as shamrocks and great good fortune, green as fiddleheads, fields and falls, green, like the fuse that burns beneath the dun watercolor stain of winter. Continue Reading

Look Out, Look Over, Look Past

When I hear marriage mentioned, the muscle around or the muscle that is my heart stiffens. I meet couples engaged to marry, newly wed or newly coupled, and think how slender the chance for their success. I am inflexible toward remarriage, cannot think why I would ever marry again. Once upon a time I was married, then winter arrived and I moved across town, back to base level in a downstairs apartment alone, looking for the nearest grocery store, watching the weather, hoping to be surprised by how the story unfolded. Continue Reading

Shadows and Smoke

I’ve finished my shopping at the farmers’ market. My bags are filled with carrots and cucumbers, eggs and tortillas. At my last stop, the boy handed me my change for the olives and hummus, then presented me with a gift, a napkin heavy with baklava. “A sweet for the sweet,” he said, assuming his uncle’s broad stance. The baklava was my excuse to find a bench, but I’ve already eaten the whole piece and scraped its syrup from my napkin. I’m still here, sitting and savoring the market. It’s Friday evening, and this is the most beautiful spot in Los Angeles. Continue Reading

Perspective for Artists

We were the art girls. We had charcoal under our fingernails, flecks of dried clay on our jeans, acrylic paint in our hair. The artsy seniors always lived on the second floor of McAllister Hall; it was tradition. Although our boarding school, Florence Summer Academy for Girls, was beautiful—the dorms looked like magnificent stone castles—McAllister Hall was so run-down inside that they let whoever lived on the second floor paint the walls of their rooms. Continue Reading

Pansy That!

andrea gibson poet IMG_7991

Although again printed by Write Bloody Publishing, and classic, powerhouse Gibson in nature, this newest collection includes an unexpected dose of heavy race-class social justice commentary—leaving readers floundering amidst layers of inspiring activism, sadness, and hope. Continue Reading

AWP Exquisite Corpse: Day Two

AWPExquisiteCorpse

We asked visitors to Booth 1421 to participate in our exquisite corpse game! Visitors contributed one line to our evolving collaborative writing experiment. The one rule is that contributors can read only the line directly preceding theirs. Follow along at #bhreviewAWP and #AWP15,… Continue Reading

Bellingham Review Publishes Issue 70

Issue70Announcement

The Bellingham Review is pleased to announce the publication of Issue 70, which includes the winners of its annual literary contests. The 2014 winners are Michael William Palmer, Jackleen Holton, and Tom Howard. This issue also marks the conclusion of editor-in-chief Brenda Miller’s leadership of the journal. Miller has edited the journal since 2001, guiding twenty-two issues to publication.
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What Ridiculous Things We Could Ask of Each Other Over Time

I put off reading Jeffrey Schultz’s What Ridiculous Things We Could Ask of Each Other for a good three months. I propped it up on my desk and looked at it a lot, though. I studied the 1915 line drawing by George Grosz on its cover, titled Riot of the Madmen. It’s unclear whether the madmen have descended upon the town or are its usual inmates: One dangles a terrified woman from a two-dimensional window; others charge through the streets with canes and hatchets. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Lois Marie Harrod

LoisMarieHarrod

Novelist Ann Tyler says that she reads so that she can live more than one life in more than one place. I write for the same reason. My character Marlene Mae lives a brash, reckless life, quite unlike my own more careful and calculating existence. I thought I was done with Marlene Mae in 2013 when Dancing Girl Press published the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for the Truth, but she (and her mother) just keep on re-appearing in new poems, including “Marlene Mae Talks About Denial” and “Marlene Mae’s Mother Turns Seventy-Six and Her Physician Asks If She Is Still Sexually Active.” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Tisha Nemeth-Loomis

The poems “Faith’s Other Shapes” and “Her Risk” explore reinvention, and the impossibility of emotional, physical, and relational wholeness in a culture that values fragmentation and isolation.

Writing is my way of being in the world. I am entirely at ease and fully “dialed in” when I am writing. Forming ideas and arranging them on the page is how I make sense of my surroundings and myself. Because of that, I continue to write—it’s never about the outcome as much as it is about the process, and the discoveries I have about myself while I am composing. Continue Reading

Who Will Carry the Pall?

Henry Art Gallery_Ann Hamilton Opening-054

I walked into the Henry on a sunny November afternoon expecting to spend a lot of time there. I was waiting for my companion to get out of a meeting, and that gave me an opportunity as rare as the sunny day: enough time to move through an installation slowly, enough time to read everything. Ann Hamilton’s the common S E N S E is incredibly well-suited to an attentive, curious reader. Words and the act of reading words form a kind of fulcrum for the show’s exploration of what it means to touch and what it means to be a human animal in a world of animals. Continue Reading