It’s not lost on me that this time of global pandemic, multi-national strife and rampant anxiety might not be the most opportune moment to start any venture, let alone a creative one. Yet equally, the act of making art in the face of bleak realities is a powerful hedge against despair. Now, more than ever, we need generative undertakings, especially those that bring us together.
Victor Hugo wrote: “Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars.” Regardless of where we are situated geographically, we feel the crushing weight of a perpetual Shabe Yalda, an immense external darkness for humankind, and our planet. Yet Persians use that longest night of the year as an opportunity to commune—through symbolic rituals, through recitations of literary treasures—and to affirm that light is coming. I believe we can deal with—transform—our current heaviness through the arts, and in so doing maintain hope, experience joy, and savor the gifts of community.
And so, welcome to Nowruz Journal,
a periodical of Persian arts and letters.
Conceived last year in the wake of the 40th anniversary of
the 1979 revolution and a related conference at the University of Pennsylvania, this online journal seeks to create a meeting place—a virtual chai-khaneh/golestan—that will celebrate the diversity of Persian voices and talents across the world. The goal—and commitment—is to share the works of Persian-identified writers and artists to English-speaking literary audiences and certainly, to the Persian community itself.
Can we take the enduring elements of an empire long-since dispersed, and create a borderless realm of artistic and cultural collage that promotes understanding both within the culture in question and also in the broader world?
I believe we must. And I hope you do, too.
We’re currently seeking fiction, poetry, art, essays, reviews, translations and interviews.
Interested in submitting? Send inquiries to submissions@ nowruzjournal.com
Want to volunteer? Contact
Follow us on Twitter: @nowruzjournal