Theme Issue on “Taking Care”

From Sept 1 to Dec 31, we are accepting submissions for a special theme issue on Taking Care.


Bellevue Literary Review and AARP are collaborating on a special issue of BLR entitled “Taking Care.” Please submit your poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction that celebrate the many facets of caregiving and how we care for one another, for ourselves, and for the world. Selected work will be published in BLR in the fall of 2023.
The Covid pandemic highlighted the manifold ways in which we do–or don’t–take care. We’ve witnessed the full range of necessity, creativity, and shortfalls inherent in taking care of ourselves, our neighbors, friends, family, and community. We’ve grappled with what it means to take care of those we don’t know, those who might be distant geographically, culturally, or politically.
What are our obligations to take care of others? How do the generations grapple with who cares for whom? How do themes of heroism, familial obligation, self-interest, guilt, or money factor into the decisions to care for others or ourselves? How do we prioritize when so much and so many need care?
We invite submissions from healthcare workers, parents, teachers, family members, community workers–anyone who has taken care or been cared for. We especially invite new voices and those from traditionally underrepresented communities.
TO SUBMIT: Please use the submission links below, and indicate in your cover letter whether that you are submitting for the “Taking Care” 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 $75 for poetry and $150 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.)