This issue of the Hollins Critic focuses on Milton Kessler. The front cover features a portrait sketch and an excerpt from his poem “Tiny Flashes Always”: “To sing was the only way through High School and life.” Liz Rosenberg’s essay lauds Kessler as a teacher, a poet, and a human being. He had an eclectic teaching style in which he would ask random questions and make poets post their poems around the room. Although he wrote a lot of poetry, he rarely sent his work out to be published. He also “helped [poets] with their personal lives and health and finances,” so that his actions spoke as loudly as his poetry (4). Rosenberg’s essay celebrates Kessler’s life and poetry, and the two dozen excerpts included make the reader want to read more of Kessler’s work.
The rest of the issue contains three poems my favorite of which is Dante Di Stephano’s “The Orchard Keeper” on the journal’s back cover. “My dad wanted to be an apple orchard. / To this end he spent thirty years tortured / by the hum of letter sorting machines, / which shuffled neither rain nor sleet nor snow / nor hail, until his face assumed the sheen / of a red delicious, whose sorrow / the worm only knows.”
Also included is a section of short book reviews entitled “Books in Brief” containing Thomas Mann’s review of Ocean Effects by Brendan Galvin. The Hollins Critic is a good read, one you can – and most likely will – finish it in one sitting.