Hollins Critic

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 Claudia Emerson (by Allison Seay), Wilma Dykeman (by Casey Clabough), Jerry Mirskin (by Howard Nelson), Sally Mann (by Martha Park), James Alan McPherson (by James Robert Saunders), Elise Partridge (by Nicholas Birns), and Ron Rash (by Jerry Wayne Wells).

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.

Excerpt from December 2018

Photo of Ruth Ozeki“Schrödinger’s Storyteller: The Work of Ruth Ozeki” by Ellen Louise Ray 

You’ve heard of the famous thought experiment: A cat is trapped inside a sealed box. In the box with the cat is a small amount of a radioactive element and a glass flask filled with hydrocyanic acid. If one of the atoms in the element decays within a given amount of time, a hammer will be triggered, the flask will break, and the acid will be released. Bye bye, kitty. But there’s an equal probability that no atoms will decay, leaving the cat a bit claustrophobic but alive.

 “The point of this thought experiment is not to torture the cat,” Ruth Ozeki explains in her most recent novel, A Tale for the Time Being (2013). The experiment illustrates what’s known as the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. Until you open the box, you don’t know if the cat is dead or alive. The cat, in fact, is dead and alive until an external observer comes along to check on it. 

Writer’s Guidelines

  • Note: The Hollins Critic reads poetry from September 15 to December 1 each year.
  • The Critic does not accept unsolicited essays. We rarely accept unsolicited book reviews.
  • The Critic does not publish fiction.