Welcome to Ethos Literary Journal (ELJ). Here is the inaugural issue and for this volume we have an eclectic mix of short story, review, nonfiction, memoir, interview and poetry. I’m blessed with extremely efficient genre-editors (Amit, Utsab, Koushik & Pramila), who have picked the right pieces for the best possible quality a literary journal should essentially bear. I’m grateful to Bitan Chakraborty, acclaimed story writer and a friend, who has designed the logo of ELJ.
We have published several poets in this edition. Many poets — many voices, and this heterogeneity, we hope, will fetch readers to poetry. We’re happy to feature Tia Paul-Louis and her work. Nikita, assistant editor, has held a brief interview with Tia — her motto was to understand ‘the making of a poet.’ We have also published a long interview with Vinita Agarwal, an award-winning poet, who has recently been bestowed the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for her excellent contribution to literature.
By the way, did you ever notice a mother asking her child whether she would serve more to eat? Upon repeated persuasions the child says, “I told you, I’m good!” But then, it is the motherly instinct that never tires from being repetitive. Poetry, like the mother, also allows retelling of words or lines or expressions, and they enable readers to relish the flavor better. Read legendary Rajbangshi poet and activist Kamalesh Sarkar’s poems (translated) and you will realize why I have talked about the compulsion here. Did I sound abrupt? Oh, well!
Intricately written short stories cast their spell always. The four short stories we have included in this volume will speak for themselves. The same is true for the nonfiction pieces, especially Professor Alam’s memoir, “Growing up with Rabindrasangeet” that will keep you engrossed in reading and reflecting on Tagore’s infinitely thoughtful lines.
We do get books that challenge our intellect! Koushik, one of our book review editors, has amazingly explored the experimental work, In Failure & In Ruins, by Mark Bolsover. Honestly, I was taken aback when I received a mail from the publisher, Philip Elliott (Into the Void Press), requesting a review of the book. So, do small presses ask for reviews of the books they publish? Was this just an exception? I hope not. The way small presses are equipping themselves professionally, it won’t be a far-fetched idea now to become proud from being published by them instead of big houses. Not too far, I can tell you!
Jessore Road-er Gachh, a collection of fifteen Bengali poems by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, needs meticulous study. This book, which also carries paintings by Biplab Mandal, is a revelation itself. These poems faithfully portray the distinguished poet’s deep-seated agony toward the old trees that were cut to accommodate heavy traffic on a public highway. Bibhas stands upright for the trees—for the environment—not only for the sake of humanity, for maintaining the history of civilization, rather. His pain is palpable: “Never consider yourself the Master. Life is brief, so realize it as deep as you can. Believe in suffering, as it attracts neither violence nor jealousy. Love your neighboring trees, insects, birds, dogs, cats, and ants, over and again. Ask them—Are you okay?” I’m sure Bibhas will leave you speechless when he asks, “Is this earth only for man?” We are proud to curate Bankim Let’s overwhelming notes on this book.
Editor’s notes are not necessarily gateways to great literature. So, without spending a minute more, read the brilliant pieces organized here in this issue; give them the time they deserve, and contemplate on the works you find intimate. I’ll certainly welcome your opinions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your time.
Chief Editor, ELJ
June 5, 2018