When I returned to the Midwest from school in 1975 I could find no Iowa publication that addressed the issues that interested me in any kind of critical way. Things literary, historical and environmental were touched on in the press, but in that mainstream and too brief way that newspapers, mostly by necessity, must succumb to.
My focus with the magazine's first issues was to fashion a hard look at rural and small town Iowa--to assert that we did indeed possess beautiful landscapes populated with fascinating characters, but that those landscapes were rapidly disappearing and those small towns, whether through the arrival of the Wal-Marts or through simple neglect, were nearly down for the count.
My aim these days is to present good writing to Iowans. I'll provide a forum not only for fiction but also for essays, from any standpoint, that wrestle with the issues breathing down on Midwesterners.
I try, with the Almanac, to avoid the slickness (in content and appearance) that, I think, cheapens so many publications. I produce the magazine on ancient letterpress equipment in the shop attached to my house. It addresses an admittedly small audience and cultivates a small plot—its own back yard, the state of Iowa. As an outlet for local writers, I hope to focus those writers on local issues and solutions and to foster good writing and reading for Midwesterners.