Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Anna Lena Phillips Bell is editor of Ecotone and the magazine’s sister imprint, Lookout Books. She is the author of Ornament, winner of the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize, and A Pocket Book of Forms, a travel-sized, fine-press guide to poetic forms, released in 2014 and included in exhibitions at Abecedarian Gallery and Asheville Bookworks. Her writing appears in 32 Poems, the Southern Review, Colorado Review, and Quarterly West, among others, and in the anthologies Big Energy Poets: Ecopoetry Thinks Climate Change, Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing in the Anthropocene, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: North Carolina. She is the recipient of a 2016 North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in literature. Formerly senior editor at American Scientist, where she remains a contributing editor, she teaches in the creative writing department at UNC Wilmington, and calls Appalachian square dances in North Carolina and beyond.

Venerable Instructions

What should a literary magazine look like? What form should a magazine of place take in the physical world? These were the questions faced, some eight years back, by Ecotone’s longtime art director, Emily Louise Smith.   In answer,…

Material Life

Oh, plastic, scourge of the Anthropocene, shaped into adorable shapes and dyed multifarious colors; plastic, who will be with us forever: it’s easy to forget about you, but when I remember you’re here, I’m annoyed and freaked out all at once. I’ve been thinking about plastic more than usual as we prepare this Body Issue. Petrochemically derived plastic is, more and more, part of our bodies, and the evidence for its hazards grows steadily clearer. Not only does this material stick around for thousands of years, it disintegrates into smaller and smaller particles that attract and concentrate toxins in seas, soil, living things. It pervades even the air, according to studies published in 2016 and new work out this year, lodging in lungs and carrying the same toxins to those chambers. Tali Weinberg’s woven data map Bound, featured in this issue, speaks to these hazards and the hazards of climate change all at once. Beginning with plastic medical tubing, she marks out data on annual average temperatures in cities and countries around the world, then shows that data by wrapping the tubing with hand-dyed, color-coded thread.

Letters to a Friend

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the U. S. Postal Service. Sending and receiving letters is one of the things I love most. Here at Ecotone we’re about to have one more reason for writing letters,

The Craft of Editing

How do editors learn to edit? It’s a question I think about a lot. And it includes an assumption I fear is threatened in these lean times, as publishers lay off staff and streamline processes: editing is a craft. A…

Fidelity to Fact

April—every day a new flower scent to try to identify; every day warmer—and I’m thinking yet again about a perennial conundrum. Amid distraction, and amid so much information, how to hold in mind the many present threats to ecological balance?

An Editor and a Poet

During the past nearly three years, we at Ecotone experienced some great luck—the company of Jason Bradford, our coeditor for poetry, and of his mother, Shirley Niedermann. Early this year, just after the semester’s first meeting of the graduate practicum…