Editorial: Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma
Some good news in the stressful times.
This issue brings together a stunning selection of the 45 of the best voices from the West. In the second edition, specially curated by the celeb American poet Scott Thomas Outlar, under the annual column: “Western Voices”, some of the finest voices writing poetry in these challenging times can be heard speaking directly to the heart through sincerity and empathy; reassuring, sanguine and motivating words---the major tasks of great art across the time-space continuum.  
No doubt, it is a bleak phase, bordering on the dark. Things have changed dramatically over the last four months and affected all of us. Borders are closed.  Traffic is zero. Offices are shut. Danger is real. A virus has wreaked havoc on the economies of an integrated and interdependent world. As the shadow of the pestilence and death continues to loom large over the nations, infections rise alarmingly, the overall mood tends to grow pessimistic. Desperation is widespread. With no vaccine discovered so far, the race of the homo-sapiens lives under the daily fear of the invisible virus stalking the streets. Quarantine, self-isolation, plague, COVID-19, lockdown, social distancing, containment---these words so far functioning as cold and remote linguistic units have suddenly got a global currency, immediacy, resonance and connect that is astonishing in terms of the fast speed of overtaking other entries in the lexicon and the frequency of usage and quick recognition across the various media and age groups. Limited but most frequently used and recognized terms evoking dread and doom. Medicine, disease, death, human will and creativity are all having their own immediacy, vibrancy and colour, and, these clusters of meanings and practices are happening simultaneously in the daily conversations everywhere.
Poetry is a powerful mode of reflecting the complexities of such ugly realities. The angst and hope, survival and belief, in tough times, are artistically conveyed by poetry. These signatures ably record the meaning of human condition in most stressful circumstances. You will find these poems uplifting in their individual tones and contours.
You will also find video poetry link, somewhere else in this issue, where select poets respond to Corona in a most creative manner. Grouped under the new section: Prose and Poetry Readings in the Time of the Pandemic, some of the top-most authors in Hindi and English can be viewed here, talking of sublime moments that give succor and hope. Hosted by Setu, it is on the rolling basis.
Another initiative to serve serious art in various forms to your PC, month after month.
The other regular features are equally enjoyable---general poetry, prose, book reviews and translations, enough to keep you busy in the lockdown, and beyond!
We thank guest editor Scott Thomas Outlar and all the featured poets in the special section for their kind support to the open call, and also, to all the other patrons of the journal that has registered so far, a whopping number of 1,384,696 page hits so far.
Take care.
Stay safe.
This will also pass.

Sunil Sharma,
Editor, Setu (English)
Mumbai Metro Area, Maharashtra (India)

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