The 82nd issue of Magma Poetry, edited by Nick Makoha and Gboyega Odubanjo, is in partnership with the Obsidian Foundation and will focus on Black poets. The submissions window for M82: Obsidian is open from 1st July – 31st July 2021. We welcome poems from writers of Black African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, and African-American heritage, including those of mixed-Black heritage. These poems must not have been previously published, either in print or online.
Up to 4 poems may be sent via Submittable, or by post if you live in the UK. Postal submissions are not acknowledged until a decision is made.
In 2020, Nick Makoha founded the Obsidian Foundation, a one-week retreat for Black poets of African descent who want to advance their writing practice led by five acclaimed Black tutors. The aim of the Obsidian Foundation is to create a community of Black poets and provide a place for them to express themselves with freedom.
When announcing the Foundation, Makoha said: “Our mission is to create a safe space for Black poets in the UK and beyond to write with complete freedom but without the burden of identity. Through this exceptional opportunity, we provide Black poets with lifelong networks, development, and a space to excel. Statistical data has revealed that there is an extreme deficit in diverse voices within the UK poetry scene. Our intention is to radically challenge this by giving poets a leg up and opening doors that have been closed for too long.”
I will no longer lightly walk behind
a one of you who fear me:
This issue of Magma aims to highlight and celebrate the best of Black poetry in the UK and beyond. By creating a space solely for Black poets we want to demolish any imagined boxes that Black writers might feel they must exist within. We welcome poems on any theme or topic. Too often representations of Blackness are made synonymous with oppression or trauma, and whilst these may inform our lives they do not encapsulate them. That is not to say that you should not submit poems that relate to the lived experiences of Black people, but that we hope you feel free to write about whatever you want to. Every day we are reminded of the precarities and challenges that come with being Black; for this issue we welcome you into a space where you can express yourself freely without fear of your language being censored or othered. We believe in Black poetry in all of its variances and welcome those variances.
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
What we are asking for is relatively simple: we want your best poems. In submissions we are looking for quality and originality. The ‘Obsidian’ issue aims to be an example of excellence within literature. We welcome submissions from new Black voices and those who have not been regularly published. We welcome poems that re-imagine and challenge our realities. We welcome bilingual poems that use English and any other language. Blackness is not a monolith and this issue could never be large enough to hold its multitudes, but what it can do is expand our current literary canon and reaffirm what is possible and valuable in poetry.
I must become the action of my fate.
June Jordan, ‘I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies’
Nick Makoha and Gboyega Odubanjo. Editors, Magma 82.
Wanting to submit to Magma 82?
Submissions are open to people of Black African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, and African-American heritage, including those of mixed-Black heritage.
You may submit up to 4 previously unpublished poems in a single Word document.
We are now accepting simultaneous submissions – but please withdraw your submission or contact us if it is accepted for publication somewhere else first. The editors’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Go to Submittable for more details.