[dropcap letter=”W”]hen Martha Stewart told us one of her favorite Maine reads was Chebacco, the journal of the MDI Historical Society, we took it as an excuse to shout out a few under-the-radar journals and membership mags that no Maine-o-phile should miss.
First launched in 1950 at Wisconsin’s Beloit College, this storied American quarterly — an early publisher of prize-winning poets like Galway Kinnell, Charles Simic, and moved with its editors to Maine in the 1980s. Now a sleek, saddle-stitched volume, it’s never strayed from the quality and daring of its origins.
Recent highlight: New work from native Mainer and Best New Poets honoree Jacques J. Rancourt. $18 annual subscription.
Mount Desert Island Historical Society’s annual membership publication offers “fresh perspectives” on the history, ecology, and social fabric of Maine’s most dynamic island.
Recent highlights: A detailed history of Wabanaki place names by Abbe Museum educator George Neptune; a photo essay documenting the author’s circumambulation (that’s a long, circular walk) of the island. Subscription with a $25 annual membership or $20 per issue.
The glossy, annual publication of Maine’s Island Institute got its start in 1984. Known for deep reportage, knockout photos, and profiles of interesting islanders, the mag lives up to its tagline, “Celebrating Island Life & Culture.”
Recent highlight: A thoughtful profile of the UPS manager turned entrepreneur working to transform fuel delivery to Casco Bay’s island communities. $14.95 per issue or free with annual membership at the $100 level.
Stories and terrific photos of Maine’s agricultural renaissance fill the handsome, matte-stock membership journal of the Maine Farmland Trust. You might spot some regular Down East writers and photographers contributing to this annual gem.
Recent highlights: A sweet, sad piece of short fiction about hapless back-to-the-landers by Maine’s O. Henry Award–winning Bill Roorbach; a black-and-white photo feature documenting a child’s life on a Belgrade farm. Subscription with annual membership; member levels begin at $20.
A three-year-old biannual literary journal edited by Port Clyde writer and photographer Margot Anne Kelley (former board chair of the venerable eco-lit mag Orion). Mainers predominate among the contributors, but the poetry, short stories, and essays are more linked by a sense of experimentation than by geography.
Recent highlight: A series of lyrical poems by Maine poet laureate Stuart Kestenbaum, each one constructed around words provided by friends. Subscription $20 annually or $15 per issue.