Magazine brings classic literature to campus

Erin Zaranec

Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac and Ralph Waldo Emerson may bring back nightmares from high school English class, but for Aaron Bennett, these writers and many more are the basis for his literary magazine, The New Old Stock.

Bennett, a Kent State graduate student receiving his master’s in creative writing , published the first issue of the magazine this past summer.

“The New Old Stock publishes classic and contemporary works of poetry and fiction side-by-side, old and new work placed next to one another by theme and meaning,” Bennett said. “The goal is to publish classic works in a new way in order to show readers how old, classic content is still as relevant today as it was when it was first published.”

 Surrounded by arts and literature from an early age, Bennett said Robert Miltner, professor of english at Kent State’s Stark campus, thought the magazine would be a good way for Bennett to gain experience. 

Bennett now has a staff of seven and has sold the first 100 copies of the magazine. All staff members are unpaid and split the cost of printing the magazine.

Ted Meltok, a 2011 graduate of the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art, works as the creative director for the magazine. 

“I’ve got a couple more years on the team, but (it) definitely helps me with the real world experience dealing with clients, printing (and) other creative resources,” Meltok said. 

Childhood friends, Meltok and Bennett, share the same passion for art and literature. Work off this drive, they make the magazine thrive.

“Easily my favorite part about working on the magazine is seeing something that (the The New Old Stock staff and I) have created be thrust out into the world and enjoyed by others,” Meltok said. “It brings a smile to my face when I see someone enjoying a copy and smiling to themselves, either from the content they’re reading or from the way the magazine looks.” 

With a (literal) push from a team member, Bennett was able to connect with a celebrity who shares his love of the arts: James Franco.

Bennett studied under Franco’s poetry professor during his undergraduate career at Denison University and was face-to-face with Franco during his appearance at a family art gallery in Cleveland.

“I was totally star struck. I actually positioned myself so that when he walked in he would see me, but I ended up just staring at him. An intern for the magazine ended up literally pushing me into him just so I could get a few words out,” Bennett said. “We ended up having a pretty long conversation. When I explained The New Old Stock to him, he was totally into it and I got an interview.”

Franco’s interview will be featured in Issue 2 of The New Old Stock, released this winter.

While the magazine is scheduled to print twice annually, Bennett said he hopes the website will remain constantly updated with new works and book reviews.

Bennett has secured a partnership with Penguin Classics, published by Penguin Books, by reaching out to Elda Rotor, associate publisher and editorial director of the company. 

He receives books to review on a monthly basis, with all reviews being published The New Old Stock’s website. 

The New Old Stock’s fiction editor Dustin Horner, a Kent State graduate student receiving his master’s in creative writing, said he is proud to work for a magazine that puts such emphasis on the classics.

 “The classics have been around for a long time and for good reason,” Horner said. “Many so-called ‘classic’ authors were masters of their craft and laid the ground work for contemporary writers to draw from.” 

The staff is currently accepting poetry and fiction submissions for the second issue.

Bennett admits that there is a lot of work that goes into creating your own literary work or magazine, but it’s well worth it.

“You can plan and plan and plan, but there’s a point where you are planning and nothing is getting done. Sometimes you just have to take the leap,” Bennett said. “Take the leap first and let your ideas and funding catch up later.”

Contact Erin Zaranec at [email protected].