Let’s get creative: Onion River Review seeks submissions

Campus literary journal and its predecessors have a rich history dating back to College's earliest days; this year's club members excited to get started with eye on spring publication

January 10, 2022
By Faith Morgan '23

Since its first publication in 1973, the Onion River Review (ORR) has been a popular and visible club at Saint Michael’s College with profound impact on campus culture, providing students the opportunity to learn about the publishing process while sharing the community’s creative work.


Rosemary Marr ’23

This year’s Review editor in chief — Rosemary Marr ‘23, an English major from Bedford, NH — said she is excited to get the 2022 publication rolling with this year’s other club editors.

The ORR is Saint Michael’s annual literary and arts magazine, published in the spring. The publication encourages and accepts submissions from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater community. “We accept up to five pieces in any category,” said Marr. “We accept drawings, paintings, prints, digital art, pictures of sculptures, photography, poetry, prose, and short stories — really any medium that can be published in a physical book.”

She said the club accepts art in so many mediums in order to give the whole community an opportunity to share their artistic skill, regardless the genre. “Literary magazines are an incredible opportunity for students, professors, staff, and other creators to share a piece of themselves with the community,” said Marr. “I want people to submit pieces that have a little piece of their soul attached, however that may look for them.”

Annually, the ORR staff consists of several auxiliary editors and core editors, led by one editor in chief. The club offers a great sense of community and a space to share a love for creativity, all while producing something profound, said Marr.

“Working with my staff is something I really enjoy; being surrounded by people who love to create as much as I do is such a profound experience. It’s incredibly validating and comforting to be able to share doing what I love with people I love. It fosters a lot of pride in our community,” she said.

The club meets regularly during the spring semester to discuss members’ vision for that year’s publication. Once submissions begin rolling in, editors work together to sift through submissions and decide which ones they want in the final publication.


This year’s Onion River Review cover art.

They also choose a submitted art piece to represent the cover of the magazine. This is one of the most important steps in the ORR publication process, said Marr. The cover of the edition represents the editors who made the magazine that year, as well as what message the editors want to convey through the publication that year. Finally, they begin work on compiling and designing the magazine for print. This provides students interested in literature and publishing an inside scoop on the process, said Marr.

The 2022 publication of the ORR will begin the compilation and production process at the start of the spring semester. Marr said she is looking forward to reading submissions from students of all kinds.

“It’s really amazing to me how creative and talented Saint Michael’s students are,” she said. “It’s also important to note that we want submissions from people of all majors, not just English or Art. Some of the most brilliant poets were scientists, environmentalists, politicians; your voice and perspective is what makes you special, and we want to hear you.”

The ORR encourages students to tap into their creative sides and share it with the community. This year, the submission period is open until March 1, 2022, giving students ample time to work on their craft and decide on what they would like to submit.

Beyond seeing one’s work published in the Review, an “open mic” gathering in the spring celebrates the publication. “This event typically takes place once we receive the copies of the Onion,” said Marr. “It was on Zoom last year but hopefully we can have a real celebration in person this year — that’s my hope.”

A Rich Literary History

This year, the club will celebrate production of the 49th annual Onion River Review. Club members say they hope to keep its presence vibrant and alive on campus for many more years. Literary reviews in some form have a rich history on campus dating to the College’s earlier days, evolving all the time. Marr said the club aims to make the publication richer and greater with every magazine produced.

1977 Review

The 1977 edition of The Onion River Review is in the College archives along with other earlier editions of the Review and its predecessors dating back to the College’s earliest years.

In 1906, two years after the founding of the College, the Saint Edmund’s literary club met bi-weekly to share personal writing or to read. During these years, the club would produce a kind of hardbound literary review, with handwritten content, and pen and ink sketches by the authors.

In 1936, a publication titled The Lance appeared around campus including poetry, stories, essays, movie reviews, and more. This publication was a small quarterly put together by Saint Michael’s students. Fast forward to the 1960s, when a review titled The Quest emerged on campus. This review would include essays, reviews, poems, and stories. The final issue in the College archives dates to 1970.

After a few years of literary silence on campus, the Onion River Review was born in 1973, including 16 pages in total and a psychedelic drawing on the cover.

Marr said she can’t wait to contribute to the long Onion River Review legacy on campus of giving students the space to use their creative voices.

To submit work for club editors to consider for inclusion in the 2022 publication of the Onion River Review, email submission(s) to onionriver@smcvt.edu. To read past editions of the Review and to learn more, visit https://www.smcvt.edu/about-smc/news/onion-river-review/.

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