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The Hollins Critic

A leading American literary journal, The Hollins Critic enters its 51st year in 2014 with essays on writers like Ruth Stone by Liz Rosenberg, Donna Tartt by James Shell, Julie Carr by Karen Meadows, Sharyn McCrumb by April Asbury, and Mary Oliver by Lisa Williams. Plus book reviews and poetry by poets new and established, and cover art by Susan Avishai.

The Hollins Critic, published five times a year, presents the first serious surveys of the whole bodies of contemporary writers' work, with complete checklists. In past issues, you'll find essays on such writers as John Engels (by David Huddle), James McCourt (by David Rollow), Jane Hirshfield (by Jeanne Larsen), Edwidge Danticat (by Denise Shaw), Vern Rutsala (by Lewis Turco), Sarah Arvio (by Lisa Williams) and Milton Kessler (by Liz Rosenberg).

The Hollins Critic also offers brief reviews of books you want to know about and poetry by poets both new and established. And every issue has a cover portrait by Susan Avishai M.A. '02.


Lev Grossman James Lees-Milnes Oliver Reynolds Cary Holladay
Lev Grossman
February 2012
James Lees-Milne
April 2012
Oliver Reynolds
June 2012
Cary Holladay
October 2012
June 2014 issue excerpt

"Ellen Bryant Voigt: Preserving the Rural Landscape"
By James Robert Saunders

Ellen Bryant Voigt

As America becomes more and more urbanized and less the agrarian society it once was, we are left to wonder about two important things: One, how much will ultimately be left of the old farming communities? And two, what value will be placed on artistic efforts to remember those communities in terms of what they actually looked like in the early years? One person, and he certainly was not alone, had serious reservations with regard to the prospect that poetry could be a stand-in for the natural world, and he expressed those reservations quite vehemently. I refer specifically to the German writer Gotthold Lessing who, in contemplating a poem about flowers, conceded that "it might be very pleasant to hear the lines read," but only pleasant "if we had the flowers in our hand." Otherwise, argued Lessing in Laocoon: An Essay upon the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766), the poetic words would be unpleasant. And not only unpleasant, but also meaningless since what was being described would be something that we, in spite of our willingness to suspend disbelief, would still be “unable to see.”

Lessing placed virtually no stock in the prospect that poetry, or even visual art for that matter, could adequately portray the natural world; however, as we consider what the contemporary poet Ellen Bryant Voigt had to say about the issue, we become privy to a different perspective. Writing in 1991, for New England Review, she laid a crucial theoretical foundation when she declared that “the sister art to poetry is painting.” The likelihood of such an artistic relationship existing becomes all the more viable when we consider that while Voigt was writing about poetry, or in other words language, she was writing about it under the auspices of an essay that she entitled "Image," the title in itself suggesting that words, flowing from the pen of a gifted writer, provide us with not just what we can read and hear, but with that which we indeed can see.

In her very first collection, Claiming Kin (1976), she begins the poem, "At the Edge of Winter," with the lines:

Vacant cornstalks rattle in the field;
the ditches are clogged with wet leaves.
Under the balding maple, toadstools
cluster like villages . . . .

Cover portrait © Susan Avishai 2014

Writer's guidelines

The Hollins Critic will not be reading poetry again until September 15, 2015. Poetry must be submitted online to The Hollins Critic. There are no rules about style or subject. One to five poems may be submitted.

The Critic pays $25.00 per poem, upon publication. All rights revert to the author following publication, but if the poem is reprinted elsewhere, the Critic should be credited.

Besides poetry, the Critic publishes an essay on a contemporary author in each issue, and book reviews as space permits. The Critic does not accept unsolicited essays. Rarely do we accept unsolicited book reviews. When a review is published, the author receives a copy of the issue, and two copies are sent to the book's publisher. Only poetry may be submitted online.

The Critic does not publish fiction.