Hello, and welcome to the inaugural issue of Claudius Speaks.
I began Claudius Speaks as a venue to celebrate emerging talent in art and literature. We take our name from Rome’s fourth emperor, a bungling stutterer surrounded by smooth operators and men larger than life, who nevertheless took his place at the head of a fledgling empire to provide it with a reign of prosperity not seen since the last days of the Republic. His patient cunning was not invalidated by the trips and starts of his speech pattern. What matters is that when Claudius did finally speak, he was heard. Our mission is to provide the conditions under which new artists of all stripes can do the same.
Our first issue is entitled, “Light”. Why “Light”? Light was the beginning, the primal scission estranging chaos from itself, the ache of awakening for the first time. It reveals creation as panorama and is the possibility of sight and insight. The rising sun heralds the start of each new day, and each new day awards us all another chance to make a difference in the world. The light from candles allowed the greatest thinkers of millennia to pen their thoughts and discoveries. Finally, light is one of the most fundamental properties of the physical universe. The shifts of light observed by telescopes helps us calculate the distance between our plant and remote stars. At the inception of the universe itself, light was one of the first quantities, if not the very first quantity, that existed.
What you’ll find here is a cornucopia of work springboarding off this theme, from poetry to essays to photography to painting and graphic design. Nearly all our contributors are unpublished and lesser known writers and artists. You will also find the winners of the poetry contest we hosted in honor of the 2016 National Poetry Month: Sara Afshar (first place), Kelly Mullins (second place), Dierdre Emmerson (third place) and Christopher Lily (Honorable Mention). Finally, we are honored to publish the work of essayist and Pushcart Prize nominee Aurvi Sharma, who’s been kind enough to provide us with some valuable advice for aspiring writers and artists.
I invite you to sit back and take a look around. I promise you will leave feeling inspired.