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Publisher's Note

Actually, it seems like a long time has passed since we founded the Bellevue Literary Review. Since 2000, there have been cataclysmic events—September 11 and its aftermath, vast regional black-outs, and most recently the East River tsunami within Hurricane Sandy that flooded and closed Bellevue Hospital for the first time in its 275-year history. But there have also been many happier occasions—twenty-four stunning issues of the Bellevue Literary Review, and the biannual public readings in Bellevue’s historic atrium.

The BLR’s childhood was golden, a period of growth and delight. Now it is a teenager, starting its fourteenth year. I have been fortunate to serve as its Publisher during these years, when we hammered out the ideas, found the resources, adapted to exigencies and to the times, guided and cajoled authors to prepare their finest work for publication, and above all, produced a journal of lasting significance. It was a dream—to marry literature and medicine in a new way, and it clearly worked! As I depart, I wish the BLR the lifespan of a sequoia, with the grace that comes only with age.

I am gratified that the BLR is highly regarded by our readership, critics, and prize-committees alike and has defined its own unique niche in the literature of health and humanity. It is a great conjunction that the three founding editors—Danielle Ofri, Jerry Lowenstein, and Ronna Wineberg—have stayed the course and continue to lead the BLR. Through their efforts, and those of current editors—Stacy Bodziak, Suzanne McConnell and Jason Schneiderman—and past editors—founding poetry editors Roxanna Font and Donna Baier Stein, and their successors Corie Feiner and Frances Richey—the BLR has developed both vitality and elegance. Danielle, the Editor-in-Chief, has been a first among equals. Her vision, energy, intelligence, and passion have guided us to our present happy state.

We have had friends, many of them. Our illustrious editorial board remains committed to the belief that the BLR is a torch that should be maintained. Our friends have contributed to the BLR as individuals, as families, as foundations, as government agencies, all encouraging the humanities in medicine. NYU—its School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center—and Bellevue Hospital have given strong support for all of these years. Our home, the Department of Medicine, has affirmed time and again the importance of our efforts.

In every enterprise, there is always one person who pulls everything together. For us, it means developing the review process, contacting the authors, working on proofs, dealing with the printers, adding up the expenses…need I say more? For the BLR, that person is Stacy Bodziak. Since she was not with us from the very start, it makes me wonder how we ever survived before her arrival. Stacy’s impact as Managing Editor has been as enormous as the dedication she showed. To Stacy: a deep thank you.

I am very pleased to pass the baton as Publisher to David Oshinsky—colleague, friend, noted historian, and scholar. David is superbly conditioned for this challenge, replete with wisdom and vigor. I hope that his lap will be at least as enjoyable as mine, and that he will lead the BLR in new directions, and to the coincident laurels.

To readers: please continue to be moved by our written words, to feel the injuries, the injustices, the unfairness of life, and to share in its miracles as well. Thank you, one and all, for the privilege to serve as the Publisher of the BLR from its creation to now. I believe that turnover is a sine qua non of good health in all realms; the generations turn, as do the seasons. But as I read future beautiful BLRs with their evocative stories, poems, and covers, I will remember those early days when we sought to create something new, that would strike a chord, and like the church bell in the morning, resonate across wide precincts.

Martin J. Blaser, M.D.
New York, NY
Fall 2013