Guest Editor’s Note: Women, Power & Creativity

Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy
Dear SETU readers and my friends and poets,

Imagine when over a hundred voices of women speak together! No, it isn’t always noise or cacophony…!!!  Believe me, women can speak, roar, plead, cajole, convince, argue, discuss – and perform many more activities with their voices - in perfect synchrony!!! Everything depends on the time, place and the platform…

This edition of SETU’s ‘Women, Power & Creativity’ is the collective voice of 110 women poets from 25 countries through their 312 poems! Their poems are a reflection of what the 21st Century woman is thinking and wishes to convey to the world! Their nationalities may vary, but they are all going through a period of transition – trying to remember what their mothers and grandmothers taught them and also keeping pace with the technological advancements of the 21st Century, that gives them an instant voice through social media whether it is MeToo or any other view!

As I read the poems received, I was able to resonate with each one of the poems as experiences I myself went through in my life or have seen the scenario painted in my society or country too…

The voices of women in this collection of poems, are gentle, confident, strident, imploring, cautioning, chiding, loving, passionate, irritated, angry and so on, as they have gone about exploring the various power structures surrounding them and through their immense efforts, have succeeded in not only creating their distinct identity, but also, realizing their potential to the fullest even if the opportunities were limited and hurdles were many …

The women poets in this edition of ‘Women, Power & Creativity’, comprise homemakers, students, school teachers, university professors, bureaucrats, corporate professionals, business women, lawyers, doctors, engineers, economists, bankers, artists, musicians, dancers and many more. Their age ranges from 12+ to 80+. It is touching to hear a 12-year-old poet assure “It is OK” and the 80-year young poet delving into history and questioning Emperor Shahjahan through the voice of Mumtaz Mahal!!! Then, there is the corporate-honcho-turned-businesswoman who “taps” the “Glass Ceiling” and says, “It’s tough, but not tougher than me”, and a homemaker poet who cautions “Don’t Mess With the Woman In the Kitchen”! While a student holds forth on “Equality Talks” through a male-female dialogue (or is it a wrangling match?!) in her poem, a doctor poet likens women to an “Aquarium”, “keeping their mystery”!

Mother and grandmother are recurring themes, as are the trials by fire that women go through to overcome a variety of barriers like patriarchy, prejudice, abuse, body-shaming etc., in their day to day life and living. Indian poets have freely invoked the various Indian goddesses like Durga, Parvati, Shakti etc, and mythological characters like Draupadi, Subhadra, Yashodhara, Gargi, etc. to make a point.

A redeeming feature in this edition is poetry of different genres e.g., Tapestry, Tanka, prose poem etc.

Questions raised are many but answers too have emerged as if by some telepathy between the poets! Some have raised issues and some have provided the solutions. Some have deconstructed feminism questioning “What is Feminism?” and some have questioned the kind of expectations placed on them that obstruct their progress and free flying!

There are countries where prostitution is rampant putting the young girls and women through untold miseries and risks, and there are countries where women struggle to find secluded places and the garb of darkness to relieve themselves for want of toilets in their homes!

It is truly an honour for me to present here a rich repertoire of poems that present women in different avatars – expressing their concerns with angst, anger, anguish, self-doubts, sorrow, satire, happiness, joy, confidence, and so on…but determined to emerge from it all and fly high! That’s the 21st Century Woman for you – something old, something new, someone confident, someone independent – with her life, though extensively wired, connected and driven by technology, still demanding the feminine touch in all that she does!!!

Read on, dear readers and discover a whole new world of women – women poets expressing themselves freely with wit and wisdom, drawing from their life’s experiences and their surroundings, with concern and empathy for their less fortunate sisters, but clear about where they wish to be seen – flying high with wings of their own! Come, read the 312 poems of 110 women poets from 25 countries  and be enlightened, enriched and empowered!

I thank all the women poets featured here (and also those who mailed their poems but for some reason their poems couldn’t be featured here), for readily responding to my call, SETU’s call, with their excellent poems. Last but not the least, I thank the English Editor of SETU Dr. Sunil Sharma and the Editor-in-Chief Mr. Anurag Sharma, for bestowing upon me the honour to act as the Guest Editor of this ‘Women, Power & Creativity’ edition of SETU and for providing me a truly rewarding experience and great learning.  

Alicia Minjarez Ramírez
Alicja Maria Kuberska
Amanita Sen
Anju Kishore
A. Annapurna Sharma
Annie George
Anuradha Bhattacharyya
Aprilia Zank
Aratrika Baidya
Artha Perla
Avril M & Shernaz W
S Barathi
Bharati Nayak
Bina Pillai
Bina Singh
Chenai Boroma
Chioneso Rutsito
Claudia Piccinno
De Vincent Miles
Denisa Kondić
Devi Nangrani
Dorcas Wairuri Maina
Eliza Segiet
Elizabeth Kurian ‘Mona’
Enkelejda Pashaj Murataj
Flaminia Cruciani
Gauri Dixit
Geethanjali Dilip
Geraldine Fernandez (Dray)
Gili Haimovich
Gulnar Raheem Khan
Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar
Hema Ravi
Hilal Karahan
Hiranya Aditi Godavarthy
hülya n. yılmaz
Indira Babbellapati
    Joan McNerney
Joanna Kalinowska
Juhi Gupte
Jyoti Kanetkar
Jyotirmaya Thakur
Kala Ramesh
Kalyna Temertey-Canta
Kamala Wijeratne
Kamani Jayasekera
Ketaki Datta
Latha Prem Sakhya
Lopa Banerjee
Madhu Sriwastav
Magie Fauré-Vidot Vijay-Kumar
Malakshmi Borthakur
Malsawmi Jacob
Margaret Saine
Maria do Sameiro Barroso
Marian Eikelhof
Mary Bone
Memory Zikhali
Namita Laxmi Jagaddeb
Nandita Bhattacarya
Nandita Samanta
Neelam Saxena Chandra
Neha Kumari
Nishi Pulugurtha
Nuggehalli Pankaja
Nutan Sarawagi
K Pankajam
Paramita Mukherjee Mullick
Poonam Nigam Sahay
Pramila Khadun
Pratima Apte
Preeta Chandran
    Pushmaotee Subrun
Rajwanti Mann
Ranjana Sharan Sinha
Reshma Ramesh
Rita De
Riya Hemant
Roula Pollard
Sabita Chakrabarty
Sadhana Subramanian
Sangeeta Sharma
Santosh Bakaya
Saranya Francis
Saroj Mahobe
Seena Sreevalson
Shafinur Shafin
Sigma G R
Sinaso Mxakaza
Sindhu Varghese
Sosonjan A. Khan
Soumya Mohanty Vilekar
Srishti Sharma
Sudeshna Mukherjee
Sujatha Warrier
Sumitra Mishra
Sunanda Bhadra
Sunil Kaushal
Swapna Behera
Tarannum Riyaz
Thryaksha Ashok Garla
Tulsi Bhandari
Usha Sridhar
Varsha Das
Vasuprada Kartic
Vidya Shankar
Vineetha Mekkoth
Virginia Jasmin Pasalo


  1. Brought together by a common sentiment, let’s hope to stay together always.

  2. Wonderful ladies you exceeded my expectations your works are outstanding still trying to read more poems as l can. Keep writing

  3. Wonderful ladies you exceeded my expectations your works are outstanding still trying to read more poems as l can. Keep writing

  4. I am struck by how much women want our lives, our earth and all in it to be improved. Women have been working and let us hope will continue to work to foster goodness. I am very pleased to be included.

  5. We have so far dear Anu, and we will always!

  6. SETU has gifted the women writers a platform to express the spoken and unspoken sentiments in the poetic form. And the accomplished EDITOR Padmaja has spread this canvas by giving opportunity to the women to express their feelings. I heartily congratulate her and the EDITORS Anurag Sharma and Sunil Sharma ji to make this happen. Hearty wishes

    1. Dear and respected Devi Nangrani ji! Thank you for your lovely feedback! Deeply appreciated! The Women poets, who ever-so promptly rose as one to my call and mailed in their poems, and the Editor-in-Chief Dr. Anurag Sharma ji and Editor-English Dr. Sunil Sharma ji, who so ably, swiftly and excellently put together this special edition of 'Women, Power & Creativity' in record time, and made it all possible, deserve all the kudos and respect! Thanks again Devi Nangrani ji for your valuable contribution in this wonderful endeavour!

  7. This is very exciting and uplifting my dear sister, awesome poetess, and diligent reviewer of the creative and imaginative words, Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy. I'm so thrilled from reading this inspiring piece, and observing the descriptive excellence resonating such great images of love and affection for the contributing writers listed in, “Women, Power & Creativity.” These ladies are most definitely congratulated on their endeavors of uplifting the world with their eloquence, figurative, and imaginative poems based on your words of gratitude.

    I love the narration regarding the various forms and styles of poems contributed to the anthology, by many masterful writers with various worldwide experience shaped in their own voice, cutting across the spectrum of life. This is a new era and dawning for women on the move who are makers and shakers in this 21st Century of technological advancement. This is really a majestical triumph in all aspects of consideration. Reading this really made my day! My congratulations to them also and best wishes during their respective journey. May they be blessed always, and also you, for your momentous contribution and inspiration. Blessings always!

    1. Respected "Unknown", many thanks for your insightful review of the 'Women, Power & Creativity' edition of SETU-Mar'19 issue. Indeed, it has been a fulfilling journey for us women poets who have converged so seamlessly here with their own poems offering their own insights into the world of women!

  8. I heartily congratulate Padmaja Iyengar for presenting this mega-women-poetry feature -- in what is perhaps a record for the number of poets and poems included, and that too just to be a part of a journal but not forming its sole content, and an online journal at that. The special beauty & significance of the feature has been rightly captured by guest editor Padmaja herself: "Questions raised are many but answers too have emerged as if by some telepathy between the poets! Some have raised issues and some have provided the solutions." I congratulate each and every poet figuring here, and also the Sharma duo - Dr Sunil and Anurag, the editorial pillars of SETU.

  9. Dear Atreya, truly honoured to receive your positive feedback on this attempt to bring together the poems of women poets across the globe within a short span of less than 3 weeks. It has all been possible due to the alacrity with which the women poets responded to my call and the great and proactive efforts of Dr Sunil Sharma and Mr. Anurag Sharma in providing this great platform, and so swiftly upping this edition in record time! Commendation coming for 'Women, Power & Creativity'
    from a senior editor, reviewer, poet and writer of your stature Atreya, has really made my day! Thanks very much again!


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