Guest-Editorial: Voices Within 2022 (Gopal Lahiri)

Gopal Lahiri: Guest Editor
Federico Garcia Lorca once said, ‘To understand poetry, we need four white walls and a silence where the poet’s voice can weep and sing,’ Perhaps, Lorca, indicates an enclosure, a closed space that separates the poets from the noise and allow them to respond in solitude to their inner voices, to release something that dwells deep within them.

Poetry puts us on the hanger-it makes us responsible for what we may elude in ourselves and in others. It gives us a better access to within ourselves. And poetry can also give us a healing touch in this difficult time of Pandemic. It may be noted that whatever its pain, the universe is also awash in beauty.

For this edition of ‘Voices Within-2022’, I am thankful to Dr. Sunil Sharma, the editor of the English Section of Setu, the bilingual literary journal, published from Pittsburgh, USA, for giving me again the opportunity to guest edits like the previous three years, the special poetry section titled ‘Voices Within’ wherein the best poems of the young as well as established Indian Poets writing in English are included. It may be noted that an anthology of selected poems from those first published in ‘Voices Within’ over the last three years was published recently from Setu Publications, USA and it brings joy to the entire poet fraternity. I am grateful again to Sunil Sharma and Anurag Sharma for publishing this anthology.

In ‘Voices Within-2022’ there are poems of every manner, feel and tenor imaginable, of great métier and control and the true voice of feeling speaks in many forms. The selected poems offer a tempting excursion to the shared thoughts of life and paint a winsome canvas of the contemporary poetic space. Poems are the animating forces, inscribing waves and thereby creating new things with great depths.

I am thankful to all the poets who make efforts to send their best poems even though a few of the bios are edited to make them crisp and concise.  It’s always a difficult task to select the best of the best poems amongst many but I love this challenge.

This collection breathes in the most intimate form of literary discourse. In many of the poems as if we are in the presence of the heart’s voice arguing with itself. And only then the poems shine with imaginative presence.

Like last year, Voices Within-2022 validates the key marks of poetry. The intense transformation of energy, the conversion of unspoken feeling into words are all there. Moreover, the thirty-five poets included in this collection have written poems that come from the deepest wellsprings of being.

A hush comes over the reader’s mind as he or she listens to the voices within that hits the depth of feeling and the following lines are written by Anna Akhmatova decades back. And this sums it all.

Human voices did not touch me
It was the wind whose words I heard.

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