Blue Fifth Review
The name of this online journal, Blue Fifth Review, has its origins in jazz: the mysterious third blue note, the blue fifth. This is the note that Thelonious Monk spent his entire musical life in search of on the piano.
Sam Rasnake began Blue Fifth Review in the winter of 2001, and from then until 2010 BFR appeared twice yearly in journal format, adding a themed supplement issue every other year. A quarterly Broadside series was added in 2006. In 2011, Michelle Elvy joined as an editor and BFR moved its online site to WordPress, launching the Blue Five Notebook Series. The format and number of issues broadened to include flash, while limiting the selections to five written works and a single piece of art per issue. In 2015, Bill Yarrow joined as non-fiction editor, as we also began to include reviews and essays. As of 2018, BFR shifted to a Biannual schedule -Spring and Fall – while continuing the Broadside series, poetry and fiction specials, and the Blue Collection issue.
The purpose of BFR is to present a variety of writers and artists, both established and new, to a broad audience. Tastes here are eclectic. Poetry and artwork that take chances, that show the unexpected, are welcome, but all forms – both traditional and experimental – are necessary. This forum seeks a community of writers and artists who know their own voices and vision, who listen to the muse, who let their pens and brushes weep.
BFR presently publishes:
Featured Writer Issues
Blue Collection Series
Follow Blue Fifth Review on
Each year, we feature an artwork from the previous year as our header art. We thank these artists for sharing their work with us and our viewers.
In 2018, we are pleased to have Phaniel by Daniel Ableev as our header art [Fall Quarterly 2017]. Ableev, a certified strangeologist and Selectronix engineer from Bonn, Germany, is co-editor of DIE NOVELLE – Zeitschrift für Experimentelles.
In 2017, we are pleased to have an untitled by piece by Maria Pierides as our header art [Broadside #45, Fall 2016]. More about Pierides’ art can be found at her website.
In 2016, we are pleased to have an untitled work by Claire Beynon as our header art [Poetry Special, March 2015]. More about Benyon’s art can be found at her website.
In 2015, we are pleased to have Leaf in a Pattern by Robin Grotke as our header art [Poetry Special, March 2014]. More about Grotke’s photography can be found at her website.
In 2014, we are pleased to have Leterrr by Eleanor Bennett as our header art [Blue Five Notebook, May 2013]. More about Bennett’s photography can be found at her website.
In 2013, we featured Bottles and Branches by Jo Ann Tomaselli [Blue Collection 2, Summer 2012]. More about Tomasellis’ photography can be found at her website: Jo Ann Tomaselli.
The background for our site is an untitled piece by Robin Grotke [Summer Quarterly 2017]
Previous backgrounds include
Lake Bones by Robert Bharda [Summer Quarterly 2016]
At Muriwai by Bernard Heise [Summer Quarterly 2015]
Gellage 107 by Michal Macku [Spring Supplement 2006]