The Maine Review
The Maine Review (MeR) is a triannual online literary journal that publishes culturally significant and innovative writing and visual art by artists living in Maine, across the country, and around the world. Maine Review Publications, which houses the Review, is a non-profit organization dedicated to making contemporary literature accessible to people of all income levels.
Cups of Coffee
At MeR, we cherish our Maine heritage, which values sustainability and stewardship of vital resources.
We’ve modeled MeR after the local farmers who respect our land and feed our communities, and the fishers, lobsterers, wormers, clammers, hunters, conservancies, and environmental non-profits who advocate for and protect our wilderness and wildlife.
MeR’s editors are passionate about literature; we are fervent advocates of excellent writing; and we strive to be diligent caretakers of our corner of a vibrant, inclusive literary community.
A Note from the Editor-in-Chief:
I live along Merrymeeting Bay in an area of Maine known as the Dresden farmlands. A little way up the road is Goranson Farm, a certified organic, solar-powered farm that has been maintained and improved since the 1960s by three generations of the Goranson family. During a time when small, family farms are disappearing (Maine lost 573 farms between 2012 and 2017: 10 percent of all farmed land in the state), this robust farm in mid-coast Maine seems an impossibility. Today, sustaining a literary journal seems an equally implausible venture, and many respected and beloved publications have folded.
At MeR we believe that quality literature, like wholesome food, is worth paying for, and that writers, like farmers, should be paid for their labor. Yet, we also believe that economic status should not be a barrier to accessing or contributing to contemporary literature. Too often subscription-based journals are beyond the reach of even dedicated readers who are unable to pay numerous $20, $30, and $40 subscriptions. How should we reconcile our principles—paying writers, supporting editors, and providing free literature—that appear to be in opposition? Farms like Goranson’s have offered us an answer and serve as an organizational model for MeR.
In the spirit of farms’ community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, we’ve launched a Community Supported Literature (CSL) program to ask for donations in lieu of subscription fees. CSAs provide farmers with funds ahead of the growing season so they can secure seeds and supplies and repair or purchase equipment necessary for a productive yield. In return, patrons receive a weekly supply of fresh produce. We kindly ask readers to donate what they can through our CSL program as we strive to compensate writers, editors, and artists for their work, and expand our community outreach.
We believe another source of sustainability for literary journals comes in the form of collaboration between regional journals, literary organizations, local businesses, and non-profits that have shared interests. Farmers, who sometimes cannot sustain independent farm stands, hold farmers markets: gathering places for the community to meet and support their farmers and craftspeople. In an effort to make our editorial team accessible and encourage cross-pollination in our literary community, MeR is launching the Co-op Reading Series. We will organize and host readings in collaboration with other literary journals, small presses, independent bookstores, literary organizations, and non-profits across the region.
We have endeavored to learn something from the admirable and ungrudging efforts of literary journals past and present. Following in their furrows, we offer The Maine Review’s literary sustainability and responsibility commitments:
- We will never seek to grow beyond what we can responsibly shepherd.
- We will focus on ways and means of perpetual, gradual improvement.
- We will tend to our writers, editors, and staff readers as vital resources to be respected, cherished, and cultivated.
- We will treat our readership as neighbors, and necessary support to our survival.
- We will reinvest growing resources in the writers we publish, in our platforms presenting their work, and in programs that will support other literary and non-profit organizations.
If the winter of literary journals is coming, as we so often read it is, I think we Mainers are particularly well-suited to survive it, provided we remain true to the better aspects of our cultural inheritance. We welcome you to join our family at our literary home, The Maine Review.