Guest-Editorial: Voices Within 2023 (Gopal Lahiri)

Gopal Lahiri: Guest Editor
‘The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it’ says Dylan Thomas. As they say, two basic metaphors for the art of poetry in the classical world are carpentry and weaving. We are reminded of Ben Johnson’s reference to the art of poetry as ‘the craft of making’. Some says, poetry is a subject as precise as geometry.

For me, the real pleasure of writing poetry is not always what it is about but the inner music the words make and the inner voice that resonates in the reader’s mind. How poets build the entire world with a handful of lines? How do the poets organize joy and grief in poetry? How to keep pace and tension in poetry? These are the questions we ask within ourselves. Adrienne Rich very rightly says, ‘Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone’.

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 four years, the special poetry section titled ‘Voices Within’ wherein the best poems of the emerging as well as established Indian Poets writing in English are included. 

The printed anthology ‘Voices Within’ published in 2022, which contains the selected poems published in the first three years in this special section of Setu is a landmark initiative. Not surprisingly, the book has received wide acclaim. I am grateful to Setu publishing, especially to Anurag Sharma and Sunil Sharma for making this happened.

In ‘Voices Within-2023’ there is something shining and pure- a radiant clarity, a luminous stillness- at the heart of the most of the poet’s work. They write about life in fresh, surprising, and original ways. The voices shift from shorter fragments to the longer narratives. And the feeling of identity helps give order, structure, and value to the poetic landscape.

Seemingly each page, of this section, tries a new tactic of communication, as the poets themselves jump from topic to topic, not in a disorganized, frantic fashion, but with energy and insight that is exciting for the reader to follow. I am thankful to all the poets who make efforts to send their best poems. 

Like last year, Voices Within-2023, records many different voices, not strictly demarcated from each other, but overlapping in ambiguous ways. Each voice is lively and nimble. Moreover, the thirty-six poets included in this collection have written poems where the words group together inside and find ways of escaping to the outer world. They use contemporary language to enrich the flow of the narrative, increasing the credibility of the voice. 

And these poets truly bring to contemporary poetry, a rich discursiveness, a compelling new way of thinking and a refreshing sense of common people. The poets are now alert to the way that poetry includes the social realm and the human voice invokes a social presence.

In this time of turbulence and chaos worldwide, Mahmoud Darwish sums it all- Every Beautiful poem is an act of resistance.


  1. As usual, another wonderful issue, curated by respected poet Gopal Lahiri. Thank you Gopal Lahiri and Sunil Sharma for gifting us "Voices Within 2023" and the brilliant November issue. Happy to be featured in this issue.

    Aneek Chatterjee

  2. Another wonderful edition of 'Voices Within", curated by respected poet Gopal Lahiri. Sincere thanks to Gopal Lahiri and Sunil Sharma for gifting us a lovely bouquet of Indian English Poetry every year. Great job. My sincere regards

    Aneek Chatterjee


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