Letter from the Founding Editor
Dear Fellow Readers & Writers,
I live in an area of Maine known as the Dresden farmlands. Up the road is Goranson Farm, a solar-powered certified organic 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 compensated for their labor. We also believe that economic pressure should never be a barrier to accessing or contributing to contemporary literature. Too often subscription-based journals are inaccessible to dedicated readers who are unable to pay numerous $20, $30, and $40 subscriptions. How should we reconcile principles—paying writers and supporting editors, while providing accessible 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 request donations in lieu of subscription fees. CSAs provide farmers with funds ahead of the growing season so they can secure supplies and repair or purchase equipment necessary for a productive yield. In return, patrons receive a weekly supply of fresh produce. Each issue of The Maine Review costs roughly $1,500 to produce; our CSL provides seed money we can invest in our writers, editors, and programs. If you feel nourished by our publication, we kindly ask you to donate through our CSL. One-time donations and recurring donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Maine Review Publications is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax-deductible.
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 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 resources in the writers we publish, the staff readers and editors who champion them, and in our platforms presenting their work.
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 growing family of readers, writers, and supporters at The Maine Review.