Over the months, after releasing the first issue of The Bare Life Review and starting in earnest to work on the second volume, we also decided to launch a web platform that extends online our efforts to publish works by immigrants and refugees.
Evidently, it has taken us a while, a good year, to launch the site. There were numerous discussions, naturally, not only about the design, the publishing schedule, function of tabs and content of work, but mostly about the direction towards which we want to navigate the web platform and the meaningful ways it might diverge from its print parent in the inexorably shoreless online ocean.
We eventually decided that, apart from featuring samples of fiction, poetry, and essays from the print issue—those pieces considered more abiding—the website will feature essays, criticism, book reviews, and special projects that are more of the moment in a section called The Latest.
We imagine The Latest as a space for enduring pieces, about any subject. For example, our inaugural piece, which features next week, is a treatise on Uzbek poetry by the 2019 EBRD literary prize winner, London-based Uzbek novelist Hamid Ismailov. A book review by New York based Iranian writer and historian Arash Azizi will be published in a few weeks. The Latest, in short, straddles all manner of genres and forms.
The Latest simply states that the condition of writing for immigrants and refugees is marked by a continuous state of being of the moment. If writing is a more alert and implicating mode of living, of being in the world, immigrants and refugees, arguably more than most and often painfully, inhabit the consequences of words. Upon arrival anywhere, as any displaced and misplaced person knows, before securing the bare necessities that sustain a life, words—to describe, to relate, to negotiate, to dream, to remember, even to mind the mines of difference—become as important as oxygen. It is not that they’re victims of the moment, but in difference the gap between what will be and what was becomes palpable, sometimes hopeful, sometime tragic. A shovel or a stethoscope operate the same anywhere; invoking the memory of tilled field or describing the murmur of a beating heart does not.
It is this space of uneasy conditions of being, between mirroring life as it is and imagining new ways of living that makes immigrant and refugee writing abiding. This is the space we hope The Bare Life Review will create.
- We are now seeking contributors to submit to The Latest. Please follow the guide for submission here.