The “Reading the Body” issue is now at the Mag Stand. Fiction by Emma Pattee, Jonathan Penner, Michele Suzann, Lauren Green, Mahak Jain, and more; nonfiction by Jeremy Griffin, Wyatt Bandt, Jack Lancaster, and others; and poetry by Jacob Boyd, Gina Ferrari, Cynthia Parker-Ohene, Sanjana Nair, Thomas Dooley, Beth Suter, and many more.
Bellevue Literary Review
Magazine Review by Katy Haas
From Issue 38 of Bellevue Literary Review, Kathi Hansen’s “We the Mothers” (honorable mention in the 2020 BLR Prize) imagines the mothers of boys who have been accused of sexual assault. They meet together in book-club-like fashion, able to speak freely with one another when no one else understands.
Hansen writes of them in a collective. They speak of their sons as one being as they look back to their childhoods, their teenage years, and the ways their boys were raised in their homes. Only when one woman begins to question her son’s innocence does the story diverge, separating her from the rest of the group, finally naming her apart from the others. I found this to be a cool, well done device for this piece, and a unique point of view to have on these now familiar stories.
Despite focusing on this side of the story, Hansen does a good job of avoiding too much sentimentality. The mothers tell their collective story without demanding understanding or sympathy from the reader. After all, as they point out, only those in their group can truly understand.
Issue 38 of the Bellevue Literary Review (BLR) came together just as NYC and Bellevue Hospital were in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the BLR staff were alternating N95 masks with red pens, balancing patient-care with literary work. But the issue made it to the presses and is packed with good reads. It features the winners of the 2020 BLR Literary Prizes. The poems, essays, and stories in this issue travel from China to Texas to Tehran, from small town to big city, from World War I-era to the present. Stay tuned for Issue 39, coming in the fall, whose theme is “Reading the Body.” Find this issue at the NewPages Mag Stand this week.