Literary Reviews, Page 26

"A Letter from Home,"  by E. C. Osondu

AGNI Online is the internet companion to AGNI, a prestigious literary journal affiliated with Boston University since 1987. It was founded at Antioch College in 1972 and had been a private publication in the interim. AGNI is not an acronym. Rather, it is named for the Vedic god of fire and guardian of mankind. The significance of such eludes me. But as the immortal bard admonished: “What’s in a name?”

AGNI, the print publication, is published twice a year, while the online version is updated frequently, both with original works and works archived from the print version. AGNI publishes the usual literary fare: short fiction, poetry and essays, while AGNI Online also offers reviews and interviews. Like The Pedestal Magazine, AGNI offers professional rates for submissions, though the former lacks a print companion publication.

I approached AGNI with some degree of trepidation upon having read the following:

“Literature for literature’s sake is not what AGNI is about. Rather, we see literature and the arts as part of a broad, ongoing cultural conversation that every society needs to remain vibrant and alive.”

I must confess that my presentiments were along the lines of: “Oh, no. Yet another ‘literary journal’ devoted to 'showcasing' obtuse, third-rate literary drivel from any Third World writer with a typewriter or keyboard intent upon remonstrating against the evil vestiges of European colonial rule—even if over fifty years hence from independence—that, of course, account for every political and social ill that currently plagues Third World nations." However, at least in regard to the stories I have sampled thus far, this seems not to be the case, and I have been pleasantly surprised at the generally apolitical nature of the stories presented.

(The essays are another matter. One entitled “An Exchange of History Lessons,” by Jacqueline Karp, an AGNI “roving correspondent,” riles against Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected President of France, for what she seems to think will be the inevitable cultural decline of France under the rule of a politician notable for his “prestige-seeking and warmongering” during his climb to power. However, such is what essays are for and it is the prerogative of the editorial staff of any publication to hold whatever editorial slant they do.) Click to continue:

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