THE MUSE COMES IN ALL FORMS Locally produced litmag’s latest volume pushes 450 pages of poetry and prose

Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out (see “Mixing Old and New,” by Deirdre Fulton, February 21, 2012). Like its predecessors, the latest installment features well-known names and new-to-us talent, with offerings at times experimental and always well-executed. From bite-sized pieces up front to meaty work in the middle to in-depth interviews in the back, The New Guard is a must-read for anyone seeking to hone his or her craft.

In this edited email interview, founding editor McNair—who will read her own work, along with TNG editor Scott Wolven, at Longfellow Books this Friday—tells the Phoenix about the 450-page Volume III, a new online component called BANG!, and The Writer’s Hotel, TNG’s educational operation out of New York City.

The New Guard contests in fiction and nonfiction are open until July 14. It’s $15 to enter; learn more at
1) How has The New Guard evolved over three issues? What’s changed about either the process or the product?

The New Guard is a labor of love. It’s not a money maker; it’s a way for us to publish a lot of newcomers alongside established writers. Each issue has been very different. Each one has its mood and its themes. The process has evolved, and will need to become more streamlined in order for us to continue to produce it. Volume IV is in the works now, and our contest is open until July 14. The judges are Tim Siebles in Poetry and Joe Wenderoth in Fiction. This issue will be different from the rest—maybe more raucous—and in it we’ll be including a letters section called “Letters to the Future.” We will always have our contests in fiction and poetry, and we’ll always publish our winners, but Vol. IV will likely be a slimmer book than our present book, Vol. III, which is almost 450 pages. We have moved our base of operations to New Hampshire, but since TNG was founded in Maine, we’ll keep a Maine element in all of our books.

We now have an online component called “BANG!” where writers can publish just a small bit of writing on that designated page. The amount of writing is rather minimal, so it’s meant to serve as a kind of calling card for the writer. This page is made up of both invited contributors and contributors who’ve submitted to BANG! online. We run one BANG! contributor for a month, and the writer gets to run three pieces total. That’s three pieces: 500 words (or less) of fiction or nonfiction or 20 lines of poetry (any combination is fine). This section has been very popular and we’re happy to run it, in hopes it will give extra support and recognition to writers on the net. BANG! submissions are accepted year-round.

2) What are some highlights of Volume III?

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