A New Maine Literary Journal
The title choices of new literary magazines—like Guernica or Drunken Boat—have this artful potential to hint at the publication’s editorial leanings. Newer journals typically depart from the tradition of slapping the word “Review” to a University or place (Paris Review, Harvard Review, etc.). In another place and time, I could write a civilized article maintaining why these prestigious titles are unfair to writers and impede the democratization of literature. But back in Maine, the newest magazine is not the Kennebunkport Review, it's The New Guard , a name that editor and publisher Shanna McNair says gave her “hope and courage and adrenaline” for a publishing world that needs more open-minded paradigms.
McNair aims to represent the spectrum of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction written today. Within each of these genres, her magazine welcomes so-called experimental, literary, and narrative categories under one roof and intends to spark conversation as to the meaning of "new." Maybe nodding to the death of an old guard, The New Guard kicks off with a series of 13 fan letters written by 13 living writers addressed to deceased literary superstars. What would you say to the ghost of Wallace Stevens? Or Agatha Christie? Each forthcoming issue will begin with a similar letter series that orbits many voices around one concept. In a sense, fan letters to dead writers reflect what McNair has in mind for the magazine’s ideal poetry and fiction submissions: “Find your own tradition, what you think is traditional, and then insert your own experiment… grounded but really new.”
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