Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Anna Lena Phillips Bell is the author of Ornament, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry; A Pocket Book of Forms; and the chapbook Smaller Songs, forthcoming from St. Brigid Press. Formerly senior editor at American Scientist, she teaches in the creative writing department at UNC Wilmington, where she is the editor of Ecotone, the literary magazine that seeks to reimagine place, and Lookout Books. During her seven years as editor, work from Ecotone has been reprinted in anthologies including Best American Poetry, Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize anthology; has received Best Original Fiction in the Stack Magazine Awards; and has been a finalist for the ASME Award for Fiction and CLMP’s Firecracker Awards. The recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in literature, Bell lives with her family near the Cape Fear River, and calls ungendered Appalachian square dances in North Carolina and beyond.

The Work of Love

Love—word we fill up with our desires and fears, utter with sincerity, toss around carelessly—when we were deciding on the theme for this issue, it seemed perhaps a foolhardy choice. But Ecotone was entering its fourteenth-anniversary year—the number for sonnets, valentines. And we are sometimes foolhardy.

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.


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?