Skip to Content

Editor Interview: Portrait of New England: A Literary Magazine

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Voices of New England.

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Northern New England Review, Syncopation Literary Journal, The Twin Bill, Juke Joint, Westchester Review, Atlantic Northeast Magazine, Floyd County Moonshine, Philadelphia Stories, The Greensboro Review, Farmer-ish.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Among modern writers - Kevin Young, Danez Smith, Sonia Sanchez, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Wright Thompson, Yusef Komunyakaa.
Among "classic" writers - Langston Hughes, Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, Ida B. Wells, Washington Irving.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Since we're currently a regional/niche magazine, the sense of community is very important to us, and one of the foundational tenets of community is communication. We try to engage and communicate often with writers throughout the submission and publication process, including talking with a feature writer for each issue in an interview format. For many indie writers, it can be a challenge trying to promote and get your work out there, and we try to do that and lift each of our writers.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read our previous issues to get a sense of the work we like. Please read our guidelines. If you are declined during the submission process, though rejection is tough, we highly recommend sending us work during the next submission period!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A piece(s) with a strong unique voice that connects with the feeling of New England, and all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted (figuratively and literally). The writing communicates what it needs, and words are used with purpose. We especially enjoy writing with strong imagery as well.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Thankfully, not much. We just strongly suggest reading the submission guidelines, which should answer all questions about submitting.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: We do care about cover letters, because we do like to see that you're actively engaged with the literary community and writing. However, publishing credits do not affect the decision-making process about a piece.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: Each piece is read thoroughly and respectfully, multiple times. As writers, we understand the heart and time that goes into the writing process. We are respectful of our submitters and treat them as such by reviewing each piece carefully before making a decision.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: For all submissions (especially for long-form writing), we provide feedback that involves both editor and the writer. Editing is not just an isolated practice. Beyond general proofreading for correction of errors, we communicate with the writer to get their feedback on areas that we think could be strengthened. We also share with writers about things we especially like throughout their pieces. Editing for us is a respectful conversation between the Portrait of New England team and the writer.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: We currently do not nominate for awards but hope to do so in the future for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net (and possibly other awards as well).