A very warm welcome to Crowstep Journal! We have had an incredible response to our first call out from poets around the world, and it is a huge honour to be a home for some of the rich and insightful work we have received. Having made very difficult decisions regarding what to include in our first collection, we are now delighted to showcase a diverse range of voices that we feel reflect the essence of the journal. A very long shortlist was deliberated upon, so we do hope that those not included this time will submit again.
The reasons for starting this publication are both personal and professional. As you will have hopefully gathered from our About page, Crowstep Journal is also a memorial project inspired by my great, great grandfather who revolutionised the way poetry was written and shared in India during the late C19th. He helped to make what was considered an exclusive art form, into an artful method of expression that could be enjoyed and appreciated by a wider audience. This did not mean diluting or dumbing down a craft in order to make it more accessible, but being inventive and creative enough to engage people on many different levels.
As a British Indian woman, I have been raised in a culture that promotes science over the arts. I believe that both art and science provide important ways of understanding and describing the world around us. Though both have very different ways of helping us do this, they converge at a point that greatly enhances human experience. On a personal level, this journal is an acknowledgement of ancestral voices and how they can encourage us to explore who we are and what we can contribute to our own communities. I believe this to be an important step towards affecting change on a global level; ‘to be the change you want to see’ (Gandhi).
On a professional level, I was initially reluctant to adopt the role of a ‘gate keeper', but unless there are more diverse voices within the publishing world that are able to have an input into what is heard, then things will not change and many important stories will remain untold. I therefore see the journal as an opportunity to open gates rather than guard them. We also aspire to be an international publication where difference and nuance as well as commonality can find a home. I think we need to have more difficult conversations, and poetry I believe, can make those conversations easier to have, beautiful even, and safer to digest, so we can respond to life in more pro-active ways.
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who has submitted their work to bring this journal into existence, and also for the kind messages of encouragement and good wishes for this project.