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Black River Review 2022


Black River Review 2022
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Jefferson Community College
State University of New York
Watertown, New York

Volume XXXII
Spring 2022


Dr. Christine Pristash, Editor in Chief
Lucinda Barbour, Art Editor, BRR
Dr. Lisa Scrivani-Tidd, Music Editor, BRR
Roy Romano, Head Literary Editor, BRR
Dr. Aleksin Ortega and Corey Pentoney, Literary Editors, BRR
Dr. Christine Grimes, Head Literary Editor, NCW
Brandon Maxam, Literary Editor, NCW
Josh Dickinson, Literary Editor/Proofreader



"Colors For All Seasons" is a still-life with a bunch of bright crimson roses in a colorful vase is at the center, with a small sprig of early pink blossoms on the left and autumn orange gourd on the right. The wall fades from gold to copper and the tablecloth is a cool light blue.

Emma Corbett
Colors for All Seasons
(oil painting)

Opinions expressed by the authors and artists do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of Jefferson Community College.



Christine Pristash

This year's edition is full of great surprises. Part of that, for me, is the surprise of learning someone I know is an artist or writer, including two of my wonderful colleagues. The visuals of Dr. Cynthia Lonsbary's "Fighting Chalk Dragons" are so beautiful and capture the magic and imagination of childhood. Margaret Taylor is clearly a double threat with her photography in "My Country" and writing skills in "The Black Hair Experience: An Identity Crisis."

While I was pleasantly surprised by the choices our contributors made in their works, I was not surprised to see the level of talent represented. Vatressa Teamoh submitted another impressive musical composition with "mollitiam," and you can see the full composition (and listen to the recording) in the online edition of the BRR. Several of our contributors took inspiration from the classics. Ed DeMattia successfully captured the humor and bawdiness of Chaucer in "The Sailor's Tale." Malachi Adkins was able to take creative twists on several writers, including their use of white space in "An Excerpt from the Personal Writings of Eleos and Dice." Artist Anna Snell was able to transfer one of DaVinci's oil paintings into pencil with skill.

Ultimately, I am surprised and honored to find myself editor of another year of the Black River Review. . . and grateful for the work that my colleagues put into this publication. Happy reading!


Black River Review Contributors, 2022

* Indicates Outstanding Creative Writing, Art, or Music Contributor




  • * Emma Corbett, "Nature's Bounty" (pencil)
  • * Emma Corbett, "Tiny Home"
  • * Anna Snell, "Pastiche of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, in oils" (pencil)
  • * Anna Snell, "Momentary"
  • Margaret Taylor, "My Country" (photo)
  • Salin Davis, "Mangestsu (Full Moon)" (watercolor and colored pencil)
  • Alysa Van Epps, "Scholar of Mortality"
  • * Anna Snell, "The Dance" (collage and ink)
  • Alysa Van Epps, "Robot Cat Persona" (digital)

Mixed Media

  • An abstract ink drawing with watercolor shading conveying flowers blossoming out of the roof of a "tiny home."
  • A colorful watercolor and colored pencil illustration portraying a mythical creature flying under a full moon.
  • Fantastical ink illustration and collage portraying zebras, a saxophone with flowers blossoming from the horn, a flying sneaker and a music staff with the following words: "Music blossoms into the night, feet began to fly."


  • Pencil drawing of a pumpkin, gourd and maple leaf.
  • Pencil rendering of Lady with an Ermine, figure is wearing a headdress, beaded necklace and elegant gown.
  • Pencil rendering of two flowers next to a human skull.


  • Photo of outside poster with illustration and text. The illustration is of an elegant black woman wearing a blue dress. Text below illustrations says, "When I was 8, I was walking through Sockburn on my way home, when a bunch of adult men started yelling at me to 'go back to your own f***ing country.' They were adults and I was a child. 
ANA, 35


  • Watercolor of a skull and quill with empty ink bottle against a purple and blue background.


  • Digital illustration of robot cat with pink hair and a heart in its eye against a geometric green to blue background.


* Vatressa Teamoh, "mollitiam"

  • Sheet 1
  • Sheet 2
  • Sheet 3
  • Sheet 4
  • Sheet 5
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  • Sheet 7
  • Sheet 8
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  • Sheet 22
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  • Sheet 24
  • Sheet 25
  • Sheet 26
Listen to mollitiam:

North Country Writers Contest, 2022





Contributor's Notes

is a Humanities and Social Sciences student at JCC. They plan to transfer to a four-year SUNY school after graduation and study philosophy. They work in Student Activities and bartend in a local restaurant.

is a Creative Writing major. Her hobbies include reading fantasy novels and making artwork.

is an aspiring artist who is graduating from JCC in May 2022. She plans on transferring to a four-year design program.

is a JCC alumnus who has enjoyed writing in the North Country since his graduation.

is a proud New Yorker who admires and appreciates the Northern country. Wilson loves his nieces and nephews very much. He is also the writer of the unpublished novel series "GodsLived, The Mythos." Wilson is a senior at JCC who will receive his associates degree in Creative Writing this May and plans to transfer to SUNY Cortland in the fall. During his time at JCC, he spent his semesters as part of the Campus Activity Board and helped plan campus activities.

is currently twenty-one years old and working on becoming a teacher. He was raised in Pulaski, a sleepy fisherman's town in New York. He loves to read and write as a hobby and hopes to get his book ideas published someday. He loves reading, writing, and watching fantasy as well as horror and all things whimsical.

returned to the North Country in 1980 after traveling through much of the eastern half of America, finding out that what he was looking for was actually right here, where he was born and raised. We are shaped by the land. It forges us into being who we become. Because we live in such a rich and diverse location, our lives and experiences can be helpful to others. His writings have appeared in Appalachia, Journeys, and Sporting Classics. He has won or received honorable mention nine times in the North Country Writers Contest. He resides in Black River, next to Rutland Hollow, where the crows go.

 has lived in Florida, California, and Oregon and presently lives in Belleville, NY. He is retired, happy, and content.

is a Creative Writing major in her second semester at JCC. She is unsure of her future path but enjoys English and psychology and plans to become an editor.

is a senior in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, soon to be working in environmental policy after graduation. She spent a semester off volunteering at Cross Island Farms on beautiful Wellesley Island. In her free time, she loves to write, read, and explore nature.

is a psychology professor, wife, mom, and the devoted sidekick in her daughter's epic adventures. Occasionally she writes poetry.

is a JCC alumna (2021) and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing & Literature at SUNY Empire. She is expected to graduate in 2023 and is making plans to attend an MFA program.

is a playwright and a homeowner in the Thousand Islands. His two novels (Glomar and The Hyphenated Man) were developed at the Yale Writers Workshop, and he is currently seeking publication of them. When the cold winds blow in the North Country, he resides in New York City, where his theatre reviews can be found in The Riverdale Press. He has also coached NCAA Division III softball at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx and had a longtime "day job" as an RN at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. James is a graduate of John Carroll University, Kent State, and Hunter College.

has dual enrolled at JCC for two semesters. She is a homeschooled senior who plans to major in art and illustration next fall.

currently serves as Director of Student Activities & Inclusion at Jefferson Community College where she manages the college's student engagement activities as well as student programs that addresses cultural diversity, inclusion, equity and justice. Her international travels to New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, and France have given her the opportunity to engage and explore other cultures firsthand. Ms. Taylor believes that it is beneficial for everyone to seek self-enrichment by learning about other cultures because it increases cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity.

is an Individual Studies A.S. major in her second year at JCC. She will be graduating this spring and transferring to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam this fall to major in Music Business. Although her primary focus is percussion, she has recently found a love for composing and writing her own music. The title of Vatressa's piece is a Latin word that in English means "resilience" and was written during a time of her own self-reflection and struggle with change.

is currently enrolled in Jefferson Community College with an aspiring degree for Creative Writing. Writing has been her passion for over five years, and she continues to search for any writing opportunities annually and always anticipates creating the best piece she can pull out of herself. As her future has only begun, she is unsure of what she wants to do with this passion but knows that writing is a part of her that she wishes to never give up on.

plans on pursuing a career in graphic design and illustration. She likes working in bright colors. Markers and digital art are her favorite mediums, though she is a fan of colored pencils as well.


The editors seek original submissions in the following categories:
Poetry: Up to 7 poems, not to exceed 50 lines each
Fiction: Up to 2 short stories, not to exceed 1500 words each
Non-Fiction: Up to 2 essays, not to exceed 1500 words each
Plays: Up to 2 one-act plays, not to exceed 1500 words each
Artwork: Up to 4 works In the original medium, such as black ink or charcoal drawing, computer graphics, b/w photographs, even if printed from color film
Music: Up to 2 composition 16 or more measures in length

Only submissions from Jefferson Community College students (full or part time), faculty, staff, and alumni will be considered. Include name, address, and phone number on each submitted work, as well as a biographical note of 30 words or fewer. Cash awards for outstanding work  will be awarded. All submissions become the property of the Black River Review. Submitted works will not be returned.

The editors also seek original submissions for the North Country Writers in the following categories:

Poetry: Not to exceed 100 lines
Fiction: 1,000-3,000 words
Non-Fiction: 1,000-3,000 words

Open to all who live (or have lived) in the North Country. Entries must be previously unpublished work, in letter quality, double spaced, and should reflect a connection to the North Country. A maximum of 3 submissions will be considered from any one participant. Winners from the previous year will not be considered in the same category.

$75 first place prize in each category with online publication.
$25 honorable mention prize in each category with online publication.

Submitting and presenting work:
For both the Black River Review and North Country Writers submissions, include name, address, and phone number on each submitted work as well as a biographical note of 30 words or fewer when submitting for either publication; remove name from manuscript. See for submission forms. All submissions become the property of the Black River Review, submitted works will not be returned. However, after first publication, all rights revert back to authors.

Award recipients are encouraged to participate in the reading of works and presentation of awards during the Black River Review unveiling in May 2022.

Deadline for Volume XXXIII: February 24, 2023


Publication of the Black River Review is made possible by support from the School of Arts & Humanities. Funds for student awards for outstanding artwork and writing are provided by the Jefferson Community College Campus Life Committee and Campus Activities Board.


Typing and layout for this volume of the Black River Review is done using Microsoft Word. Typing by Christine Pristash and Jess Jones; prize notification by Jess Jones. Printing by Mitchell's Speedway Press. Digital photography and logo design by Marketing. Website layout by Andrew Lackey and Jess Jones.

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Copyright © 2022 Black River Review
(After first publication, all rights revert to authors, artists, and composers.)