Welcome to the 35th issue of the Bellevue Literary Review. While 35 is often considered a good time for a mid-life crisis, we at the BLR decided to opt more for a mid-life refresh.
We are thrilled to introduce the newly redesigned journal. The BLR redesign was a remarkable collaboration with students at the Parsons School of Design, under the direction of their teacher, the incomparable Minda Gralnek. The students were given free rein, and the journal you are holding now is a result of that effort.
The original design of the BLR came together in the 2-West Medical Clinic at Bellevue, where a few of us—decidedly nondesigners—tinkered with fonts, page layouts, masthead templates, and header styles between patients. Although it was tweaked over the years, this trusty layout held for 17 years. For the covers, we rifled through cartons of dusty photos from the Bellevue archives, grateful that Lorinda Klein—a long-time Bellevue employee and veritable walking archive—could be counted on not only to identify and date any photo, but also to provide juicy backstory.
In the last few years, we moved from archival photos on the cover to contemporary art, in order to broaden our reach. But it was clear that our overall design was ready for an upgrade. For those of us who were in on the original homegrown creation, it was nothing short of miraculous to watch the sophistication and inventiveness of the professional design process. It also opened our eyes to the sheer number of considerations that one must codify into a formal design.
But eventually all theory must submit to iron actuality of the printer, and here you have the real thing in your hand. Of course it’s the literary content that really makes the journal, and we’d never conflate content with presentation. Cooks, though, know that food is always just that much tastier when you pull out the special-occasion china. So we offer up this first course to you, and hope that you find it savory—inside and out.
Sadly, this issue is the final course for our beloved poetry editor, Jason Schneiderman. One could never say, “Too many cooks…” when it came to Jason. He not only set the poetry standard for the BLR and forged links in the literary community, but he also performed at our readings, and had a significant hand in the journal redesign. He was a jack of all literary trades, as you will see in the Foreword he has contributed to this issue as well as his gorgeous poem, “In Memoriam, Fanny Imlay (1794-1816).” We wish him well with his writing, teaching, and his many creative endeavors. Bon voyage, and, well, bon appetit.