Open Call for Submissions December 1-15, 2021

DECEMBER 1-15, 2021
BHR 14 / Spring 2022 Issue


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(Artwork, “Great Blue Heron,” by Daniel Adams)


Sharpen your pencils and limber up your minds and hearts!  We’re having another bonus issue of Blue Heron Review.  Our next issue will be published in late spring.  Our theme is MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS — whether it’s human connection, connecting to nature and the environment, or connecting with your authentic self, we want to read your meditative poetry for this special issue!  Please visit the Blue Heron Review Submission Guidelines page of our site and read all of our requirements carefully.  Please ONLY send submissions during the reading period of December 1-15, 2021.  We look forward to reading your most heartfelt thoughts on connection!


Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

Blue Heron Review Issue 13 (Offerings of Compassion) / Fall 2021 Is Now Online! 


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(Cover art credit: Paula Lietz)

Please visit the BHR 13 Fall 2021 page of our site, to read and view our full collection of poetry and visual art!



Lisa Ashley * Donna Secour * Michelle M Mead * Rhiannon-Skye Boden * Sarah Reichert * Judy Kronenfeld * Bobbi Sinha-Morey * Patty Somlo * Andrea England * Lynne Carol Austin * Ann Wehrman * Donna H DiCello * Irene Alderson * Wilda Morris * Cynthia Elder * Richard Havenga * Thomas Davis * Betsy Mars * Susan Martell Huebner * Kristen Baum DeBeasi * Amy Baskin * Gail Goepfert * Janet Ruth * Shawn Aveningo-Sanders * Jim Landwehr * Lorraine Caputo * Jan Chronister * Mary Ray Goehring * Brenda Lempp * Shelly Blankman * Rose Mary Boehm * Nancy Rafal * Sandra Lindow * Darshan Frances Jessop * Heidi C Hallett * Jackie Langetieg * Joan Mazza * Erik Richardson * Mary Jo Balistreri



Paula Lietz (Cover Artist) * Kurt Huebner * Lynne Carol Austin * Richard Havenga * Megan Morgan * Karen VandenBos * Holly Kallie



Dear Reader,

I welcome you to hit the pause button today.  After being on hiatus, one bonus issue wasn’t enough.  For our last issue (Nurturing Hope), we had so many submissions of exquisite, heartfelt work, that I created another gathering space for poems that all seemed to hold hands around the companion theme of Offerings of Compassion.  I originally opened up Blue Heron Review again to offer some solace and peace during the pandemic.  I can see that there is a need to continue to offer this haven of creativity and connection.  I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue.  Stay tuned for an announcement about an upcoming call for submissions for another themed bonus issue.

All kind thoughts,

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review



Best of the Net 2021 / Blue Heron Review Nominations

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I am proud of each and every contributor of Blue Heron Review, and it is a true honor to shine a light on their work.  I wish I could have nominated more than 6 authors.  Please join me in congratulating our 2021 Best of the Net Award Nominees!  The following poets nominated appear in our Bonus Issue, Blue Heron Review Issue 12, Spring 2021 (HOPE).  Visit the BHR 12 page to read all of these very fine poems.  Simply scroll down to find the work of each author within the issue.

Rachael Inciarte / “terrestrial bodies”

Karen George / “All Night Long I Dream of Paintings”

Sheryl Cornett / “Cathedral: Arc of the Covenant”

Kersten Christianson / “In the Cauldron”

Jeannie E Roberts / “Noticing Arcs, Color, and the Spectral Luster of Hope”

Mary McCarthy / “Relief”


Congratulations to all!

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

Blue Heron Review Issue 12 (“Nurturing Hope” ) / Spring 2021 Is Now ONLINE!

(Cover art credit: Kathleen Gunton)

*Please visit the BHR 12 Spring 2021 page of our site, to read and view our full collection of poetry and visual art!



Ryan F Love * Sally Sandler * Rachael Inciarte * Kelly Lenox * Lori Levy * Karen George * Annie Morris * Mary Anna Kruch * Judy DeCroce * Janet Ford * Jean Varda * Amy Beth Acker * Dana Sonnenschein * Mary McCarthy * Sheryl Cornett * Pat Phillips West * Catherine D’Andrea * Penny Harter * Amy L George * Rachel Dacus * Kate Meyer-Currey * Kersten Christianson * Paula Schulz * Cheryl Heineman * Mary C Rowin * Karen Warinsky * Jeannie E Roberts * Maryann Hurtt * Melissa Huff * Marilyn Zelke Windau * Stephen Anderson * Thomas A Thrun * Joan Leotta * Cheryl Byler Keeler * Grace Matson * Patricia Carney * Linda Aschbrenner


Kathleen Gunton (Cover Artist) * Janet Ruth * Jeannie E Roberts * Kurt Huebner * Paula Lietz * Karen VandenBos * Sonya Sinha


Dear Reader,

It is such a great pleasure to share this issue with you!  My goal in opening up Blue Heron Review again for a special bonus issue was to provide writers and readers a chance to surround themselves with the energy of hope and promise after this long pandemic year.  You will find exquisite, fine art photography and beautiful poetry to nurture the soul.  These poems reflect the different experiences people felt moved to share.  Through recognizing your own stories of struggle, resilience, and human connection, I hope that the many tomorrows of 2021 seem a bit brighter. 

With kind thoughts,

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

BLUE HERON REVIEW is back for a special BONUS issue—HOPE! Call for Submissions: Jan. 20th through Feb. 10th, 2021

Our theme is: *NURTURING HOPE*

In order to provide space and support for what we are all going through with the current pandemic, I wanted to temporarily re-open Blue Heron Review for people to write and share stories of hope.  Mark your calendar and join us for this very special gathering of voices, as we come together to create space for HOPE in our lives.  Your words make a difference.  Help us raise the vibration for everyone. (Online pub date: Spring 2021)

(*Please carefully read our full submission guidelines on the BHR site before submitting.)

With kind thoughts,

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Founding Editor, Blue Heron Review

(Artwork, “Great Blue Heron,” by Daniel Adams)

Thank You for Over Six Wonderful Years of Blue Heron Review!

A Tender Goodbye from Blue Heron Review

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(*Blue Heron logo image by artist Daniel Adams)

This is a gentle closing of things and a joyful welcoming of new beginnings and new creative paths emerging. Thank you to everyone who has joined me on the journey that has been Blue Heron Review for the past 6 ½ years! Without our extensive list of contributing poets and artists, as well as our kind readers, there would be no Blue Heron Review. Last spring, I made the decision to discontinue our 2 issue per year format, but I made a commitment to keep showcasing a new featured author every month. I have made the decision to create more space for myself, in order to have more time to devote to other journeys. As of May 2020, we will say goodbye, with great love, to Blue Heron Review. It has truly been an honor and a privilege (as well as a labor of love) to curate and produce Blue Heron Review for over 6 years. I have made deep connections with fellow creatives over the years. I know that these will last a lifetime. Please know that I am cheering you on in all of your future, artistic dreams! Keep sharing your triumphs and joys with me. If you have a new book coming out, you can still write to me at the Blue Heron gmail address, and I will proudly share your news and links on social media. Thank you for trusting me with your work, your creative offerings, and your hopes for poetry. I have enjoyed shining a bright light on your unique talents. Keep shining, and know that I think you are all wonderful! The world is a more loving, expansive, and joyful place, because your art — your poetry is in it!

With kind thoughts always,
Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

Happy National Poetry Month from Blue Heron Review!

While everyone is staying safe at home during Covid-19 restrictions, I hope that writers are finding the online resources and communities they need, in order to find solace through the arts. I am sharing some links on our homepage, starting with a writing prompt group on Facebook, which I founded 2 weeks ago.

Connection and Creativity in Challenging Times:
Online Writing Prompts (for adults and teens)
(*On Facebook and Instagram)


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I hope you’ll join us on weekdays (Mon-Fri) for family-friendly writing prompts and inspiration. This is a FREE creative arts offering, which I would like to provide everyone, while they are working from home or doing on-line learning through the schools. This group is open to ALL ages. All genres of writing welcome. This is meant to be fun, therapeutic, healing, and helpful. We’re here to lift each other up through the creative arts! *For those who prefer Instagram, I will be sharing the same, daily writing prompts and visuals there, as well. Feel free to follow me @cristinamrnorcross

The site (The Academy of American Poets) has an amazing listing of offerings and links to help everyone celebrate National Poetry Month! (Shelter in Poems, Poem in Your Pocket Day, 2020 National Poetry Month Poster, 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Virtual Classroom, and many others)

Author, editor, and Blue Heron Review contributor, Robert Lee Brewer, at Writer’s Digest is hosting the 2020 PAD (Poem a Day) challenge (plus many other offerings for National Poetry Month). Need some incentive to write your next chapbook? Visit the Poem a Day page.

Blue Heron Review poet Kai Coggin is hosting a weekly, virtual, poetry open mic on Facebook through the Wednesday Night Poetry series! This is a fantastic group to be a part of and listen to! Community, poetry, and solidarity at a time when we all need nourishment for the soul.  WPN Virtual Open Mic, Poetry Through the Pandemic

Looking for some reading material? Blue Heron Review has over 6 years, 11 issues, and too many featured authors to count, for you to enjoy in the peace and comfort of your home. Every issue has an array of contemporary poetic voices, as well as gorgeous, fine art photography and other art offerings. Have a browse through our archives of issues, and scroll through our Blue Heron Review Featured Author page for some of the most extraordinary voices in poetry today! Just as a teaser, here is a link to one of my favorite, themed issues — The Healing Issue. Have a look, rest awhile, pull up a chair and a cup of tea — and enjoy!  BHR Issue 8 / Summer 2017

Sponsored by Local Gems Press, Bard Con Virtual (March 31-April 7th) is a virtual writing conference experience! Audio recordings of poetry readings (both individual and group readings from anthologies), interviews, audio writing workshops, and so many literary goodies are available to enjoy! A virtual gathering, with resources galore for writers and readers.

One of my audio writing workshops is included on the Bard Con Virtual page (“Coping Strategies Through Creativity: Writing Prompts with author Cristina Norcross” / 15 min.) A BIG thank you to Local Gems Press, and editors James Paul Wagner and Nick Hale, for creating this virtual space of creativity and community!

The online journal Visual Verse provides a new visual prompt on the 1st of every month. The deadline is usually the 15th. Submissions are published on a rolling basis, but you won’t receive an e-mail response. You need to check the site, and scroll to see if your poem is included. Poems are published up until the last day of the month. Word yoga! Try it! 50-500 words / submit your work within 1 hour.  This is such an inspiring practice.

The Globe Theatre in London is streaming a FREE Shakespeare play every fortnight! Need a break from writing, but still want some inspiration? This is just the thing!

Stay safe everyone, and make time to create!
Kind thoughts always,

—Cristina M. R. Norcross, Editor of Blue Heron Review, author of Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019) and many other titles

The March 2020 Blue Heron Review Featured Author is Lorette C. Luzajic!

Welcome to the March edition of our Blue Heron Review Featured Author spotlight! Honored to share the work of multi-talented, mixed media artist and poet, Lorette C. Luzajic, who is also the founding editor of The Ekphrastic Review. This happens to be a very special feature. In addition to sharing two prose poems from Lorette C. Luzajic’s latest collection, Pretty Time Machine, we are also including a wonderful book review, written by Mary McCarthy. Luzajic’s poems are hauntingly beautiful and fiercely authentic. Steeped in rich imagery, you can see into the life of things, when reading her poems. She has a gift for painting with words—images jumping off the page in a wondrous dance of color and movement.

Please visit the Blue Heron Review Featured Author page of our site, to read the full feature, and to learn more about both writers.

Lorette C Author Photo March 2020

Lorette C. Luzajic is an award-winning mixed media artist whose collage paintings are collected internationally. She is also a widely published poet, twice nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She also writes a column about pairing Wine and Art for Good Food Revolution. She is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted to writing inspired by art. Visit her at


Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day is on February 20th! (Founded in 2012)


JPG version of RAPA Day poster 2020

Join us to spread inspiration on February 20th every year! Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day is an international day of inspiration and giving, founded in 2012. As an artistic pay-it-forward movement, our purpose is to spread the joy of the creative process. Wherever you live, please join us in creating gifts of visual art and poetry, to help brighten someone else’s day. It’s up to you what you do!

A Few Examples:
* Leave behind free poetry cards or quotes at coffee houses, cafés, and libraries.
* Give away mini works of art / handmade jewelry / pottery / knitted scarves or hats to hospitals, shelters, schools, or nursing homes.
* Donate art prints and poetry books to non-profit organizations.
* Mail an unexpected, handmade gift to someone who is coping with an illness, a challenging time, or recovering from surgery.

Create, be inspired, and share photos of your Random Acts of Poetry & Art on our Facebook page sharing thread. Who knows? You could change someone’s day in an instant, with the gift of art and poetry!

*Find RAPA on Facebook and Twitter

Our RAPA Day organizers include: Cristina M. R. Norcross (WI), Sonya S. Sinha (NY), and Jennifer S. J. Peña (NJ).

RAPA Day 2020 new logo for Twitter by James V2

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”
—Amelia Earhart




The January 2020 Blue Heron Review Featured Author is Josephine Jacobsen / Happy New Year from BHR!

Welcome to the January 2020 Blue Heron Featured Author spotlight! And, also, Happy New Year to all of our readers! We are honored to share the work of poet, fiction writer, and critic Josephine Jacobsen (1908-2003), who was born in Ontario, Canada. Jacobsen served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in the early 1970s.

Twice a year, I try to include a voice from the past on our featured author page. It provides an opportunity to reflect on our rich history of poetry from past decades/centuries. It is important to pause and truly appreciate the influence of past authors on our own voices, as writers. Everything we create comes from our unique heart source, but we must also acknowledge that none of us would be the writers we are today, without the many, many trailblazers who came before us.

Please visit the Blue Heron Review Featured Author page of our site, to read 3 sample poems by Jospehine Jacobsen and to learn more about her literary legacy.


(photo credit: The Poetry Foundation)

“Poet, fiction writer, and critic Josephine Jacobsen [1908-2003] was born in Ontario, Canada, to American parents on vacation. Her father died when she was five, and afterward she and her mother moved around frequently, while Jacobsen was taught by private tutors. They settled in Maryland when Jacobsen was 14, and she would live there until her death almost 80 years later. She received the Shelley Memorial Award and the prestigious Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America and served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in the early 1970s.” (*excerpted from The Poetry Foundation site)