Virginia Literary Journal


David Black lives in Louisa, Virginia. At the University of Virginia, he worked on Plume & Sword, a literary magazine. He has published widely in regional magazines such as Now & Then, Zone 3, Tar River Poetry, and Appalachian Journal, and is the former poetry editor of English Journal. He has published two poetry collections: Some Task, Long Forgotten and Other Poems (2000, o.p.) and The Clown in the Tent (2010, Amazon). He is currently working on a third poetry collection tentatively entitled Aspects of a Crosscut Saw, and an essay collection.

Dee Bowlin lives in Roanoke, Virginia, surrounded by the inspirational Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poetry has been published in Encore, Golden Words, Red Earth Revisited, Artemis, and Virginia Literary Journal. Her songs have been performed on stage, and her photographs published in Artemis and Virginia Literary Journal. Dee was honored as 2011 Poetry Society of Oklahoma Poet Laureate and is currently a member of Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association and Roanoke Valley Christian Writers.

Linda Dove wrote poems as a young person in England. But life, careers in teaching, universities and, for the last 20 years, international development assistance put academic and technical writing foremost. In 2005, big changes in her life stimulated Linda’s poetic sensibilities once again. In 2009, she moved from Northern Virginia to the central Shenandoah Valley just outside Harrisonburg. She finds that poetry as a literary vehicle helps her express the inspiration she finds in the Valley’s natural beauty, its history, and its changing, diverse cultures. Linda did not have a formal training in poetry, especially American poetry, but she is an avid learner about the history of poetry, and poetic styles and forms, and she loves to experiment. In the last six years, Linda has shared her poems with her local poet friends. She formed and facilitates a monthly poetry-writing group in Harrisonburg where we share our poems and give constructive feedback. She also regularly attends writing and poetry events in Staunton and Waynesboro, and occasionally in Charlottesville and Hollins University. Encouraged by fellow writers, Linda is now exploring her potential for publication in high quality magazines.

Lois Holden lives on the sunrise side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, Virginia. She started writing poems as a child and has continued to write poetry and short stories since those early efforts. She has worked as a publisher, technical writer, book editor and newsletter editor. Her entry, “Old Sukie and Me,” won first prize in the 2013 Fralin Museum of Art (University of Virginia) Writer’s Eye competition in the university/adult prose category and her short story, "An Ordinary Day," received an honorable mention in the 2014 Writers' Eye competition. The short story “The Hearing Aide” won honorable mention in the Blue Ridge Writers Chapter 2014 writing contest; in 2015, her short story, "Target Practice," won third place in the Blue Ridge Writers contest. She is a member of the Lonesome Mountain Pros(e) Writers Workshop, the Blue Ridge Writers Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club and the Virginia Writers Club.

Sarah E N Kohrs creates written and visual art that seeks a unique perspective on how surroundings kindle hope in even a disparaged heart. She has poetry published in Crosswinds Poetry Journal, From the Depths, and Poetry from the Valley of Virginia; and photography in Blueline Literary Magazine and Virginia Literary Journal. Life experiences that bolster her artistic pursuits include homeschooling three sons, creating pottery for local Empty Bowl soup suppers, managing The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, directing Corhaven Graveyard—an historical slave cemetery recently preserved—and more. SENK received a BA, with majors in Archaeology and Classical Languages, from The College of Wooster and holds a VA state teaching license, endorsed in Latin and Visual Arts. She lives in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Find her online at

Daniel Pravda earned his MFA at George Mason University and returned home to teach at Norfolk State. His poetry has recently appeared in Vine Leaves, The American Dissident, Dos Passos Review, Gihon River Review, Poetica, Asinine,, and Solo Novo. He has published one book, A Bird in the Hand Is a Dumb Bird, in 2011. He also fronts a rock band called “The Dunes.”

Susan Pepper Robbins lives in rural Virginia. Her second novel was published this summer by Holland House Books in London, There Is Nothing Strange. Her collection of stories came out in 2014, Nothing But The Weather. Her first novel won the Virginia Prize and was published by Random House. She teaches writing at Hampden-Sydney College.

Trey Spencer was born in Abingdon, Virginia, and currently lives in Charlottesville.

Mike Spillman is a retired engineer who has resided in Roanoke County for many years. He is a blogger and an enthusiastic amateur poet. His whimsical approach to rhyming poetry reflects his rural origins. Other writings include excerpts from personal journals of his travels and life in the Middle East.

Nancy Taylor writes: “Having lived in the New River Valley of southwest Virginia for 35 years, I love all that it has to offer, including living in the country side of beautiful Pulaski County. I wrote my first ‘poem’ at age nine: ‘If I Was [sic] A Mountain.’ I knew even then where I needed to be. As a Special Purpose faculty member in the English Department at Radford University, I have been teaching research, writing, and British literature for 28 years. I love everything the mountains of southwest Virginia have to offer but my favorites are hiking, mountain trail horse riding, kayaking, and camping. Wherever I travel I always have the feeling, when returning home, that this is the best place of all.”

William Vollrath recently "retired" to beautiful Charlottesville following several careers in greater Chicago. He now spends his time taking photos, writing poetry, playing the baritone horn, fishing and otherwise contemplating the mysteries of life.

Virginia Literary Journal - Issue #3 

Contents & Contributors

[COVER PHOTO] Emancipation Tree by Sarah Kohrs

 ​[Photo] Dogwood by the Tracks by Dee Bowlin
Miles to Go by Dee Bowlin
The Blue Ridge Mountain Moon by Dee Bowlin
[Photo] Daydreamin’ by Dee Bowlin
The Appalachian Trail by Linda Dove
[Photo] Falls Ridge by Sarah Kohrs
The Link Between Clutter and Depression by Nancy Taylor
In This Thin Place by Sarah Kohrs
An Early Birth by Trey Spencer
First Grandchild by Nancy Taylor
[Photo] Cattle Pond, Pulaski, VA by Nancy Taylor
Cremation Society by Susan Robbins
The Wild Ride by Mike Spillman
Riparian by Daniel Pravada
[Photo] Corn’s Up, Pulaski, VA by Nancy Taylor
Country Neighbors by David Black
It’s a Dog’s Life by Lois Holden

[Photo] Hughlett Point Nature Preserve by William Vollrath

Volume Editor - Sara M. Robinson