Theme Issue on Recovery

From Sept 1 to Dec 31, we are accepting submissions for a special theme issue on Recovery.
From Homer and Euripides to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Tony Kushner, we have witnessed repeating cycles of destruction and recovery. Contemporary writers such as Claudia Rankine, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Bessel Vandercolk explore whether or not healing truly is borne out of suffering. The term recovery has become more dimensional than ever as we grapple with the fallout from medical disasters, environmental catastrophe, economic devastation and political upheaval. We continue to struggle with the insidiousness of institutional racism, the distrust of facts, the relentlessness of addiction, and the grief from so much loss in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Are we capable of bouncing back from our isolation? Can we recuperate from our depression and disunity? How will our children grow up in the wake of such upheaval? Is true “recovery” even achievable?
In short, we are trying to figure out how we’ll emerge from this mess. We are seeking poetry, fiction and nonfiction that grapple with these broad and urgent questions for a special issue of BLR devoted to recovery. We all need to read these writings. Especially now.
TO SUBMIT: Please use the submission links below, and indicate in your cover letter whether you are submitting for the theme issue. All other submission guidelines are the same.


  • We happily consider simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Manuscripts can only be accepted electronically via Submittable.
  • Fiction/nonfiction word max is 5,000 words, (though most of our published prose is in the range of 2,000-4,000 words.) Please submit no more than three poems. Each poem should be on a separate page within a single document.
  • There is a $5 fee per general submission which helps support our production costs. Though we’d prefer not to have to charge a submission fee, we hope you will be understanding of the economic realities of publishing a high-quality literary magazine. Subscribing to the journal is a tangible—and very much appreciated—way of supporting the BLR, thus the submission fee is waived for current subscribers. (If you are not a current subscriber, you can subscribe when you submit your work.)
  •  We strive to provide several reviewers for each manuscript and kindly ask your patience in this necessarily slow process. But if you have not heard from us within five months, feel free to inquire about your manuscript.
  •  BLR pays $50 for poetry and $100 for prose. Published authors will receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears, plus an additional 1-year subscription to BLR. There is an author discount for purchasing extra copies.
  • All submissions must be of previously unpublished work.*  BLR acquires First North American rights, and the right to reprint in anthologies and online. After publication, all other rights revert to the author and the work may be reprinted as long as appropriate acknowledgement to BLR is made.

(*For BLR“published work” means published in print in North America, or published on the Internet in electronic journals, e-zines, academic websites, and other “public” or “official” websites. Works posted on personal blogs or websites will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We ask that authors be honest about web postings. If a work is discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere–and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance–we will remove it from consideration.)