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The Red Wheelbarrow Review is a literary journal for a new decade unfolding in an uncertain century. It is a continuation of The Red Savina Review (RSR), an online literary journal launched in 2013. The vision of the RSR editors, thanks to the talented and award-winning writers and artists who published with us, have evolved over the years. For the sake of our past and future writers, we have decided that a new look and a new mission are in order. Here it is:
Western Civilization stands or falls on the concept of Logos. What the term means will depend upon the context in which it is utilized. However, no matter the context, Logos is inextricably intertwined with reason and language, which, in turn, are inextricably intertwined with one another. The ancient Greeks saw the universe endowed with a kind of reason (or structure) that could be communicated to humans through observation of the natural world and then transmitted across time through language. For Christians, Logos became the divine Word that is God, or, to hearken back to the Greeks, the rationality inherent in creation. Logos has been contextualized in Judaism, Neoplatonism, Islam, and, more recently, in the psychology of Carl Jung. It is with us today. No matter the context, the essence remains unchanged: Logos is the foundation of Western Civilization.
Despite attempts to confine Logos in specific disciplines such as logic or scientific materialism, the concept continues to defy specific definitions. In this, it transcends all attempts at human fettering. Perhaps the best we can do, then—as Western apophatic theological traditions have pointed out for centuries (along with their Taoist cousins)—is to employ language to point toward the ineffable. Some call the source of this ineffability Logos, others God, and still others transcendent. Whatever the name, the song remains the same. It is the sacred song of the West, but today the psalmist sings in a whisper.
William Carlos Williams, the author of the enigmatic poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” favored precise images and sharp language. The image provides the surface, the language depth contained therein. More than any visual rendering of a red wheelbarrow might, the poem points to that which transcends the material world while, at the same time, inhabiting it. As Hillaire Belloc put it, “There is an Unknown Country lying beneath the places that we know, and appearing only in moments of revelation.” We can glimpse the transcendent only through the places that we know. The well-wrought poem serves to shape the familiar into a door that opens into an Unknown Country. It is up to the reader to walk through. Through art, particularly that of the written word, the doors of perception are held open.
This is what The Red Wheelbarrow Review is all about: providing the space where doors open into transcendent realms. Here we celebrate the spirit of the word in all of its various lights. We hope you will accompany us on this ongoing journey.