onion river review 2014

The Onion River Review

The Onion River Review is a literary journal whose annual edition features poetry, prose, and visual arts. The Onion River Review is edited by the students of Saint Michael's College in Vermont, and is committed to publishing work from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater community.

We hope you enjoy our current issue.

Submission Guidelines


The Onion River Review encourages submission of photography, painting, and other media for publication. Digital files may be emailed to onionriver@smcvt.edu. Other media may be submitted at Saint Edmund's Hall, Room 329, or it may be mailed to the following address:

The Onion River Review
William Marquess, Advisor
One Winooski Park #171
Colchester, VT 05439


The Onion River Review accepts submission of poetry, prose, scripts, and other literary forms. To submit your work, email onionriver@smcvt.edu with your work in the body of the email, or with a Word file attached. If you are unable to submit your work through email, you may submit through the process outlined above.


The Onion River Review enthusiastically accepts mixed-media work such as calligraphy that do not fit into the categories above.

The Onion River Review is first and foremost an artistic outlet for the greater Saint Michael's community. We accept submissions from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our neighbors in the Burlington area.


Onion River 2016
Onion River 2015
Onion River 2014  
Onion River 2013 
Onion River 2012 
Onion River 2011 
Onion River 2010 
Onion River 2009

Editorial Process

Each submission is read anonymously. Each editor reads every submission, thus each submission is guaranteed to be read more than once. Contributors may submit with the confidence that their work will be given all due consideration.


The Onion River Review takes its name from the river that runs near campus: Winooski means "onion" in the language of the local Indian tribe, the Abenaki. The review has existed in various formats since 1973, when the first edition appeared in sixteen mimeographed pages, with a trippy psychedelic drawing on the cover.

Before The Onion River, there was a long history of student literary activity at Saint Michael's. The oldest record dates to 1906, two years after the founding of the college. That was when the Saint Edmund's Literary Club began meeting every other week, aiming "to perfect our English by presenting to the meetings compositions by ourselves, or by reading or by elocution." Annual dues were five cents. Meetings began and ended with a prayer, Father Nicolle presiding. Fathers Jean-Marie and Alliot were among the first judges of the performances.

In the first years, the proceedings of the new club amounted to a kind of literary review. Members' compositions were preserved in a hardbound book, handwritten in flowing penmanship, often with pen-and-ink sketches by the authors. Some of the presentations are accompanied by anonymous criticism. "Mr. A. Bombardier gave the story of ‘Two Queer Englishmen.’ There was evidence of effort having been put into his composition, but we expected more from Mr. Bombardier."

Before long, the book became a chronicle of sports scores and events at the college, a sort of early yearbook. Its literary mission seems to have been taken over by a publication called Purple and Gold, put out by the Newman Lyceum, which was founded at the college in 1908 "to discuss literary, social, and religious topics." This magazine, too, was something of a miscellaney, containing quips and quotations as well as observations on campus life. "Early to bed and early to rise,/And you will meet none of the regular guys." "We would remind Mr. Manette that he is not to say the prayers in Chapel with the same rapidity as he translates Greek in Class." But there was always a "Poet’s Corner" where original compositions were published.

Purple and Gold was succeeded in 1936 by another all-purpose publication, The Lance, which appeared at first in a slick magazine format, complete with advertisements from national cigarette companies. Featuring the caption "The Student Writers of Saint Michael's College," it eventually became a small quarterly, containing poems, essays, and movie reviews as well as sports commentary and campus wisdom ("Don’t forget, the keynote of good breeding is B natural").

The sixties brought a more focused literary effort—The Quest, which proposed the "rebirth of a literary magazine on the campus of St. Michael’s." In the first issue (1961), the editors asked, "Where are our Faulkners, our Hemingways?" For ten years The Quest appeared in the shape of one of the classic "little reviews," containing essays and reviews as well as poems and stories. The final issue in the college archives, dated 1970, includes black-and-white photographs and artwork. And then the literary impulse on campus seems to have gone unpublished for a few years, until the birth of The Onion River Review in 1973.


Briana Brady


Briana Brady is the proud owner of two pairs of sunglasses, one oversized world map that hangs on the wall of her bedroom, a moderately sized personal library of books filled with shameless marginalia, and a pistachio-colored hat that she crocheted herself. This is Briana’s second year as a member of the Onion River Review’s core editors, and despite being fired on multiple occasions and to the chagrin of everyone else, she just keeps coming back. Besides her love of the supreme power of editing, she is a double major in English and Philosophy—mostly due to the fact that she enjoys fabricating answers for the question of what she might like to do with the rest of her life. As of late, she’s been considering a career as a professional psychic, but is unsure of how she would acquire the necessary accoutrements. While waiting for a time when that dream can come to fruition, however, Briana amuses herself with formulating magnetic haikus on her fridge, writing continually unfinished prose on her laptop, and anxiously awaiting her departure in January 2015 for a semester abroad in Morocco. She apologizes for never having been able to keep a straight face in a photograph.

Sam Burns


Sam Burns is an English major and Creative Writing minor from North Creek, N.Y., a small town in the Adirondacks that has a large population of trees, raft guides, and ski bums, and, from what I hear, she's got a liking for venison steak with a side of potatoes. I also heard she's a pretty mean wrestler, but I cannot personally attest to this information myself as I have not wrestled her yet, but in full disclosure, I probably won't, as seeing a grown man cry would be a sore sight for any onlookers. When I asked her what she thought she was going to do with an English degree in the real world, she told me that she hopes to move out to California in a year's time to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a watermelon herder, and that hopefully she'll be able to move on to the zucchinis if she works real hard, but as everyone knows, they are the wiliest of vegetables. Word on the street is that she’s real excited to be a core editor at the Onion River Review beside a great group of mighty talented folks, and is really looking forward to being able to put together the new issue with them! When not at Saint Michael's, I've heard that she's either practicing her accents on her family, trying to work past the rookie stage of raft guiding ("Burns! For the love of patchouli watch out for that rock!"), or can be found reading a copy of the New Yorker next to the heater in her living room.

Lily Gardner


Lily Gardner hails from the City of Sin, home of Marshmallow Fluff, Lynn, Massachusetts, and continues to foster her sinful roots in Vermont. An avid reader, you can often find her laughing to herself about a passage in a book, or praising an under-appreciated word she happened to stumble upon—like petrichor, for instance, the smell of a first rain on dry earth, which she thinks should be translated into daily use. Surprisingly, she does enjoy activities other than reading and writing, including film, art (creating it, studying it, and simply enjoying it), music, singing, eating (cheese or maple products preferably), catching frogs, and baking. If you’d like to find her, you could check her dorm room, which she lovingly refers to as her “cave,” or you could search for her old hand-me-down Cadillac, in which she’ll hopefully be on some adventure.

Russell Hammond


Petrarch is quoted as saying, "Books have led some to learning and others to madness." Russell Hammond's crowded bookshelf is a testament to his insanity. The shelf itself containing tomes by the likes of Dumas and Nabokov, it's a wonder Russell has managed to cling to any vestige of his sanity. A fan of both the spoken word and traditional poetry, he often runs against the grain of most poetical tastes. He fully plans to champion the traditional style now that he’s a part of the core editing group. In regards to the prosaic, he finds the revenge narrative fascinating, as insanity and revenge pair so nicely together. When he's not madly dashing about plotting elaborate plans of vengeance, Russell can be found working on his latest creative endeavor. As of now, such an endeavor involves adapting "Star Wars: A New Hope" into an hour-long Shakespearian affair. But in lieu of his theatrical muse, he can be seen biking around campus, DJ-ing at a townhouse, or yelling at the video game characters into the wee hours of the morning. Indeed, there is never a dull moment in the life of a madman.

Shawna Norton


Shawna Norton is a Senior English Major who resists the urge to gag every time she hears the word "graduation." This is her first and last year as a Core Editor of the Onion. On her resume she writes that her interests include reading (anything and everything), fishing, and forcing her friends to play with her outside, but she makes sure to leave out that her interests also include any activity revolved around eating food. Shawna is most looking forward to the next Star Wars marathon on Spike TV, and maybe one day being able to cook a meal more complicated than scrambled eggs.

Cory Warren


The painter Jean-Michel Basquiat says, “If I’m away from painting for a week, I get bored”; Cory Warren finds this true in the realms of reading and writing. He is an English major, red in tooth and claw. When his soul seems light as a husk, he writes sometimes, reads always. He often changes clothing between classes and through this practice has convinced many poor chumps that his doppelgänger, of whom little is known, resides on campus. He is an ardent archivist of his own life; un flâneur formidable; a great expectorator of philosophies; a lover of novels, poetry, film, theater, art, music, and cities. He recently completed a research fellowship through Saint Michael’s during which he studied the cognitive and epistemic relations between the fictional works of Virginia Woolf and Ian McEwan. His literary interests are mostly rooted in twentieth century Europe. He has ambitions in academia, though the yield of his imaginative crop remains fruitful. He will be studying in London during the spring of 2015—chuffed and luffed for Blighty, he is.

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