A new literary magazine, The New Guard , is a name that editor and publisher Shanna McNair says gave her â€œhope and courage and adrenalineâ€ 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 magazineâ€™s ideal poetry and fiction submissions: â€œFind your own tradition, what you think is traditional, and then insert your own experimentâ€¦Â grounded but really new.â€
The annual journal was born alongside two annual $1,000 prize contests. Payne Ratner won the Machigonne Fiction Contest for "Fish Story," judged this year by celebrated Maine fiction writer Debra Spark. With humor so dark you might mistake it for chocolate, Payneâ€™s piece follows an office worker who one day finds a fish plopped into his lap, as if dropped from the drop tile ceiling, and then risks his own crumbling world in a struggle to save the creatureâ€™s life. William Derge won the $1,000 Knightville Poetry contest, judged this year by former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall. Dergeâ€™s poem, â€œThe Red Chair,â€ peers into the lives and thoughts of characters in de Hoochâ€™s painting Interior. McNair, who is an M.F.A. candidate in fiction at University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Program said sending those checks to the winners was â€œone of my happiest days ever.â€ â€œAt the end of the day,â€ she continued, â€œweâ€™re here for writers... Itâ€™s not about me or my concept. Itâ€™s about giving people what they deserve as writers.â€
The New Guard joins a cadre of Maine lit mags that includes the nationally renowned Beloit Poetry Journal and famed Portland-based CafÃ© Review. The New Guard is currently open to submissions from writers everywhere for the 2011 Machigonne Fiction Contest and Knightville Poetry Contest. Deadline: September 1. If you'd like a cheeky submission solicitation for these contests, check out The New Guard's YouTube video.
Thank you to LiveWorkPortland for the article.