Towards Visibility

Poetry by BIPOC, women, individuals with disabilities and non-binary voices


Guest Editors: Anita Nahal, Candice Louisa Daquin & Sangeeta Sharma

This special issue of Setu will showcase poetry by individuals who identify themselves either as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), as women, as individuals with disabilities or as non-binary voices. The current world demographics reveal that women are 49.58%, Black people are 7.8 billion, Indigenous people are 6%, 1.3 billion individuals with disability and about 2% of the population in 27 countries identified themselves as non-binary in a 2023 survey.[1]

Humans are different. That is a fact. It’s also a verity that human nature prevents most of us from recognizing and accepting the distinctive diversity of others. Au contraire, mortals have the potential of generating bias and fear in their brain synapses, consequently shifting to a “fight-or-flight”[2] mode rather quickly. Princeton university researchers, Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov have concluded that it takes only 1/10 of a second for us to make a judgement about someone based on optic perceptions.[3]

Keeping that in mind, we would like to present the assortment of themes that BIPOC, women, individuals with disabilities and non-binary poets across the globe are writing about. What attracts their interest and provides an impetus for them to express?

Are they addressing bias, injustice, violence, abuse or seeking the lost bonds of camaraderie, or lamenting over the digressing environmental richness, or yearning for spatial connections with cherished or disliked places or people, or engrossed in imaginary fascinations with non-human species on our planet or beyond in space? Or is magic their main poetic stay?

Or are they articulating their personal lives and beauties or challenges therein, prejudices, and world views towards them or others? Or are they writing poetry about love, loss, survival, family, parenthood, various “isms”, music, dance, sports, food, travel, etc.?

Perhaps none of these themes can be viewed or expressed artistically in a vacuum and poetry outpourings are an amalgam of related or unrelated thoughts, feelings, and expressions.

Also, are these poets expressing in real or surreal terms? What kind of semantics do they employ? And in what forms do they create poetry—free verse, prose, haiku, ekphrastic, etc.?

As three women editors for this special Setu issue, each one with varied experiences, we represent a multitude of divergences on the same themes we write about. Our writing styles differ as well. Simply because we are women, we are not monolithic. We have layered identities within us, lapping and overlapping just like in British mathematician John Venn’s diagram, though unlike his equal circles, our circles can change shapes and size depending upon what is dear to us at a particular moment in time.[4]

This special issue of Setu is, therefore exclusive as it’s rare--to have a collection of so many minority voices in one issue.

Setu invites poetry submissions from BIPOC, women, individuals with disabilities and non-binary voices to share with readers what they are emoting in their written words.


We look forward to receiving your contributions.


Kindly peruse below the submission guidelines.


1.     Submissions are welcome from anyone who identifies themselves in any of the categories listed: BIPOC, women, individuals with disabilities and non-binary individuals.

2.     Each person may submit a total of three poems, no longer than 20 lines each.

3.     All poems are to be sent in one word document in Times New Roman Font and 14 points.

4.     Please attach three separate documents:

·       One with the poems

·       Second with your 150-word bio

·       Third your picture in JPEG.


5.     Please email all three as attachments to: setuspecial.ed@gmail.com

6.     Authors must indicate authorship of poems submitted in the email.

7.     Deadline for submission: September 1, 2023

8.    Any content that promotes enmity or hatred of any kind or against any individual, group, region or nationality is not acceptable. Neither is porn.

[1] Published by Statista Research Department and 9, J. (2023) Gender Identity Worldwide by country 2021, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1269778/gender-identity-worldwide-country/ (Accessed: 20 May 2023). (This foot note is only for one of the above statistics. For others, please do a Google search.)

[2] In the 1920s American psychologist, Walter Cannon was the first to write describe the fight-or-flight concept.

[3] Wargo, E. (2006) How many seconds to a first impression? Association for Psychological Science - APS. Available at: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression (Accessed: 16 May 2023).

[4] Nahal, A. (2016) Diversity & Inclusion applied in layers (DIAL) model by dr. Anita Nahal, CDP, Society for Diversity. Available at: https://societyfordiversity.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/diversity-inclusion-applied-in-layers-dial-model-by-dr-anita-nahal-cdp/ (Accessed: 20 May 2023).

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