Like so many spontaneous and sober notions, the idea for this journal began at a pub. On a warm night in June, former classmates and friends came together at Ye Olde Bull and Bush to discuss their attempts at fiction and poetry over drinks. Each of us had shared many classes and conversations about literature, and each at one time or another had tried his hand at writing verse or prose, but somehow we had failed to notice until now that we were not individuals alone in our endeavors but a ragtag company of kindred spirits. “The Exiles” moniker stuck, and so did the group. By the end of the night we decided not only to meet again to critique each other’s work, but that these writings actually showed some merit. They meant something, something real, and so we knew they must be shared.
The Lost Country is the natural fruition of that night, and the many nights that followed. This journal grew organically out of our common interest, education, and tradition, but more significantly, it came about because we had a common need to write authentic literature together. While fiction remains a thriving business in the United States, literature as a genuine species of art is a rare treasure not easily found today. Much of contemporary literature falls short of its aim, or it aims at the wrong end entirely. Poetry should aspire to more than mere self-expression, a novel more than cheap entertainment. Sentimentality and social commentary are no replacement for Western culture and the Western literary tradition. True literature cannot exist outside of this tradition, for each new work assimilates itself to the works of the past, and will in turn be assimilated by those still to come.
We aim to continue this tradition not just by exploring the process of making genuine works of literary art, but also by critically examining other works of authentic literature and placing them, as best we can, within the tradition. We accomplish the first through our attempt at poesis, and the second through our translations, essays, and book reviews.
This first issue of The Lost Country draws heavily from the writings and thoughts of The Exiles, but we hope, in the future, that we might elicit the writings and thoughts of others who share our understanding of art and also wish to examine or partake in the great Western literary tradition.