1. Call for Contributions – Magma 66 on the theme of ‘Comedy’

    Written by admin at February 1, 2016 9:47


    “Dying is easy, comedy is hard”, were allegedly the last words of the Shakespearean actor, Edmund Kean, and anyone who has tried to stand on a stage and make people laugh will know what he means. But what about on the page?

    The late James Tate said “I love my funny poems, but I’d rather break your heart. And if I can do both in the same poem, that’s the best.”

    So, here is your challenge. We want poems to make us belly laugh, poems to make us chuckle, witty poems, punny poems, absurd poems. We want poems that are deliciously dark, perverse, shocking, delicately funny, embarrassingly painful, silly and surreal. We want poems of all shapes and styles from a diverse range of poets. Does comedy have boundaries or differences based on culture, gender, class, or is it truly the great universal? Is slapstick possible in a poem? What about visual gags? Are some words inherently funnier than others?

    But we don’t just want to limit you to being funny, like the best comedy routines, we want variety and range. We also invite poems about comedy and comedians, about what makes us laugh and why, about the thin line between comedy and tragedy, and we want poems that, as James Tate says, will make us laugh and also break our hearts.

    Not much to ask, right?

    Ella Frears and John Canfield

    The submission period for M66 is now closed and the editors would like to thank everyone who submitted, and will be contacting people as quickly as they can. The theme and submission window for M67 will be announced shortly.


32 Responses to “Call for Contributions – Magma 66 on the theme of ‘Comedy’”

  1. Chris Harrington/Rose says:

    But but but, how can I reply on Feb 2nd when I have only just read your email which came yesterday, for last date for submissions by Feb 1st???

    Can one submit late?


  2. Rob Mackenzie says:

    Chris, Feb 1st was the opening date for submissions, not the closing date. You are welcome to submit!

  3. Well it says 1st Feb deadline and Rob you say first Feb is not closing date but opening date I am bit confused.

  4. Rob Mackenzie says:

    It says, “Please send us up to four poems by Submittable from 1st February 2016 (deadline TBC)”. OK, *from* 1st February. That means opening date! Then “Deadline TBC” i.e. ” deadline to be confirmed”. Hope that is clear. It’s clear to me.

  5. Ok yes that makes sense thanks Rob got it.

  6. Rob Mackenzie says:

    Great. Good luck!

  7. P.Leighton says:

    Roughly when might selection process be over and unused poems released for use elsewhere?

  8. William says:

    Just to confirm, there is no line minimum or maximum? thanks x

  9. John Canfield says:

    Hi P. Leighton. We’re aiming to accept, reject and shortlist within four weeks of submission. We’ll then need to wait until after submissions close to select from the shortlist, which we’ll aim to do in a few weeks.

    Hi William. No, there’s no line limit.

  10. Carl says:

    How exciting.

    Very quick question – where do you stand on submissions that have been posted on a personal blog in the past?

  11. John Canfield says:

    Hi Carl

    We have a preference for poems that are previously unpublished, in any form, but do send it in and let us know which one it is in the covering letter.

  12. Rod Whitworth says:

    I’ve just submitted 4 poems via Submittable. It would only let me attach one file, so I’ve submitted the 4 as single .docx file. Is that OK?

  13. Elijah says:

    I’ve just recently begun writing poetry, and still new to all this. What is submittable? And also will I mantain legal ownership of my poem once I submit it?

  14. Caroline Carver says:

    VERY appreciative of a magazine to send poems to with an edge of comedy to them. There are so ffew opportunities for this. Will chance my hand today. Thanks for the opportunity. C

  15. John Canfield says:

    Hi Rod. That’s absolutely fine. We’ve got them all in the one document and look forward to reading them.

    Hi Elijah. Submittable is a platform that makes the submission process easier to manage for submitter and editor. There is an faq page at http://www.submittable.com/faq. As with most magazines, copyright of each poem published will be retained by the author.

    Hi Caroline. Thanks, us too. I can confirm we’ve got your submission and look forward to reading it.

  16. Fiona says:

    Hello. Love the topic. What’s your turnaround?

  17. Ann Onymous says:


    For submissions by post, will you use the post mark of March 31,
    or must you receive them on and before this date?

    For submittable, I assume, one can submit up until 23:59pm on March 31.
    Is that true?

    Thank you
    P.S. I don’t plan to wait until the last minute

  18. John Canfield says:

    Hi Fiona – Thanks. We’re turning them around as quick as we can, but we’ve had a lot! We’re aiming to reply within a month, but certainly no later than two.

    Hi ‘Ann’ – yes, we’ll use the postmark date of March 31st. Submittable sets the date that it comes through, so it will depend on their internal clock, so in theory yes, 23.59, but we’ll take a sensible view after that.

  19. Alexandra Davis says:

    Hi Magma
    I’ve just submitted four but two have appeared ‘elsewhere’ albeit on a very small scale. Does that void them and, if so, should I resubmit?
    Many thanks!

  20. Liu Cheng says:

    Hello. I have sent you a poem by post for Magma 66. I hope you receive it by tomorrow.
    Thank you

  21. John Canfield says:

    Hi Alexandra – we’d prefer the poems to be unpublished, but don’t worry, once we’ve been through the submissions we’ll contact you and can have a conversation about it if applicable.

    Liu – Thanks, we’ll go by the postmark anyway.

  22. Ruby says:

    I would love to submit but the deadline has passed….I hate to be asking this but: is today really too late?

  23. John Canfield says:

    Hi Ruby. I’m afraid so. Submittable stops accepting submissions after 31st March. The submission period for Magma 67 will be announced soon though.

  24. Liu Cheng says:

    Hello. I wonder roughly when all the submitters should hear from you regarding their submission. Thank you.

  25. Alice Kavounas says:

    Hi John–Any update on issue 66 submissions? Thanks!

  26. John Canfield says:

    Hi Liu – we’re still working our way through a bumper crop of submissions, hopefully not too much longer. Thanks for your patience.

    Hi Alice – likewise, we haven’t been through everything yet I’m afraid but hope to have a final selection in the next month. Thanks for waiting.


  27. Alice Kavounas says:

    Thanks, John.

  28. Lesley Kahney says:

    Hi John,
    I haven’t heard anything on this issue submission. Are submissions still being processed? Thanks.

  29. John Canfield says:

    Hi Lesley

    We had our editorial board meeting this week, so final responses will be going out to everyone in the next few days. Thanks for your patience.


  30. Lesley Kahney says:

    Thanks John.

  31. John says:

    Hi John

    I haven’t heard anything on my submission and was wondering if you were still processing submissions for this issue?


  32. John Canfield says:

    Hi John

    We’re sending out emails as we speak. Thanks for bearing with us.


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