A journal of humanity and human experience

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Subscribe now to get our latest issue, featuring the winners of the 2024 BLR Literary Prizes.

As featured on NPR's Morning Edition

NPR’s Neda Ulaby reported on BLR‘s 20th Anniversary, featuring BLR Editor Danielle Ofri, along with author Celeste Ng. Long before Celeste Ng reached stratospheric popularity with Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, she was an emerging author, whose story “Girls, at Play” appeared in BLR and then won a Pushcart Prize.

Whiting Award Winner

BLR was awarded a Whiting Literary Magazine Prize for
“excellence in publishing, advocacy for writers, and a unique contribution to the strength of the overall literary community.”

BLR Off the Page



Ammu has never known anyone who died. Not a grandparent or a rickety neighbor or anyone struck by what Ammu’s tightlipped mother, Nina, referred to (after six months of her own successful chemotherapy) as the C word. Ammu’s mother swatted away death as if it were a mosquito and marched forward into a robust if unchartered future.


“There are more important things I should be doing at the age of forty-two”/
you say, showing me photos of your daughter in a pink, fluffy tutu and I

Day 1,301

There will be a worse day. He will live / long enough to not recognize me at all, / and I sense it drawing nearer…

1 a.m. Refill

It’s 1:00 a.m. and the emergency department is cold. The bright overhead lights illuminate the rows of empty desk chairs. I hear the tap-tap of rubber clogs shuffling in a far corner. There are only two patients here— the man in Room 18 with abdominal pain, and you.


It’s going to happen today. He can feel it waiting to happen, because he’s wanted to know for so long. There are people who live to satisfy curiosity, and Derrick is one of them.

Autumn Crickets

As late sun fades/
through the haze/
of their sound

Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

In the 1940’s, a young Marine returns from China to a small Pennsylvania town. One year later finds the body of the mother-in-law sprawled on the kitchen floor and the body of the wife in the living room, both perforated with bullets.

Assisted Living

Mary’s not at dinner and no one knows why. Roy is limping but at least he’s up walking again after last month when he fell by the mailboxes and dislocated his new knee.

Canine Cardiology

Houdi pawed at the student’s thighs and, despite his heart condition, displayed one of his inopportune erections, which the vet student chose not to acknowledge.

Praise & Recognition