Preface to Veils, Halos, & Shackles

The December 2012 rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey in Delhi moved thousands of people to pour into the streets in protest. Veils, Halos, & Shackles was conceived in response to that vicious gang-rape and to the unprecedented public activism for women’s safety that followed it. The anthology includes more than 250 poems by over 180 poets, who represent dozens of countries, from Brazil to Bangladesh and from New Zealand to Nigeria. Many of our contributors are among the most accomplished living poets.

These diverse, impeccably crafted poems tell us that Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Ireland, India, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, the USA, the UK, and dozens of other countries, are not so dissimilar where the oppression of women is concerned. Many of the contributors to this anthology are survivors of rape and other crimes that affect women and girls every day or are the kin of victims and survivors. Other contributors have written about this subject out of empathy and concern, having been moved deeply by the fate of human beings who just happen to be women.

In addition to the poems, we have included statements by the poets, in which they explain why they have chosen to address this subject in their work. We believe that this feature of the anthology will not only add to its value as an adopted text for classroom teaching but that it will also widen the circle of potential readers.

We also believe that our anthology will be an essential and timely contribution to the cause that so deeply concerns us: telling the truth about the violence and oppression women are subjected to, and moving individuals, and even governments, to protect and support women, through intelligent laws and the transformation of cultures. It’s clear to us that Veils, Halos, & Shackles will speak to a global audience and that, tragically, its subject will remain current in the foreseeable future.

Charles Adès Fishman – Bellport, Long Island
Smita Sahay – Mumbai, India
October, 2015

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November 6, 2016