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We are thrilled to announce that we have a winner for Magma’s 2022 pamphlet competition – it’s Annihilation by Asim Khan.  Many congratulations to him.  We look forward very much to working with him to publish the pamphlet next year.  There will be a launch.

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for Magma’s 2022 pamphlet competition.  Thank you to everyone who entered and to our judge, Alycia Pirmohamed, for such interesting and varied choices.  Scroll down or click on each title to read a poem.

Addenda after the fall  by Mara Adamitz Scrupe

Annihilation   by Asim Khan

As Wild As   by Wendelin Law 

Bloodwork   by Vasiliki Albedo

The body of memory is thick-skinned   by Perla Kantarjian

Flow Apparitions   by Jac Common

The new edges of the land   by Sara Falkstad

A Spotter’s Guide to Invisible Things   by Laura Theis

Where the leaves fall   by Ojo Taiye

You Were Here All Along   by Jinhao Xie

The winner will be announced in a couple of weeks.  Below we are very pleased to present a poem from each of the shortlisted entries.  Poems by the winner and three others will appear in Magma next spring.

Addenda after the fall  by Mara Adamitz Scrupe

plantation lexicon/ coarse & stout   

Osnaburg: plain woven cotton in solid colors–unbleached
or white or brown
or blue or in stripes or checks thereof

* lower           middling            upper *

Linsey-woolsey: roughly woven linen or hemp warp & woolen weft

* rank             & order *

Kersey: a twill weave of short staple wool fibers

* us                & them *

Satinet: cotton warp & woolen weft smooth-surfaced twill

* rich              & poor *

jean cloth: acutely surfaced twilled diagonal weave
of cotton warp & woolen weft

* urbane        & rustic *


fine twilled mohair woolen draped in fashionable
gown bodice folded & draped
from the shoulders & crossed at the waist


Receipt for Fancy Goods Purchased:
24 Yds Green Circassion
4 Yds Super Mixed Casinett
22 Yds Yds Cotton Sheeting
30 Yds Lt Gingham
6 Yds Blk Worsted Edging
8 Spools Cotton
4 Doz Buttons
Silk & Thread
1 Gross Buttons
2 pair Mohair Hose
2 Yds Olive Cloth
1 Yd Blk Casimere
1 Yd Crape Camlet

Enslaved cotton plantation workers raised, harvested, ginned, and baled raw cotton to send to local, northern, and European spinning, knitting, and weaving mills. They then received back the finished cloth and clothing that marked them as slaves.  – Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Slave Cloth and Clothing Slaves: Craftsmanship, Commerce, and Industry

Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a visual artist, filmmaker, and writer. She has authored six award-winning poetry collections and her poems and essays have been published in literary journals worldwide. She has been awarded many international literary and visual arts awards, prizes, residencies, and fellowships.

Annihilation   by Asim Khan

John Clare

there’s a path to be made from all this                    some days the courage is not there, then sometime
later you follow what appears to be a voice from the stones                            naturally,    one     inclines
oneself to the idea of home                a past life maybe that orients our mineral presence
            along the walk, patterns emerge, even the silicles of perennial honesty present themselves as
the ears of the moon                      and you do your best to escape the cruelty of your language during
these conversations, but a lorry speeds by and you feel the need to move on            again,
there’s always a fence funnelling us this way or that, and with tiredness comes the temptation to say
you are lost                    overhead, power lines intersect lines of flight whilst the canal acts obediently
beside the river               you pass someone who says that sound just now might have been a kestrel,
but you can’t see it, you keep trying to notice, until you question if they even existed at all
               what to make of it when there’s still a common distance to be covered           for              long
stretches, only the elms stand out with their mangled branches and there’ll be a ditch nearby waiting
to catch your fall                          and something will weigh heavy in the grave loneliness                   the
wait will grind at both the left and right sole                       then, when you truly forget the direction, the
lighting in the field will turn to pure flame                               and when you’re weak the ground will sink
too, so you’ll be off balance working out a more favourable position                      not   quite   sleep   or
death, the pendulous hypnagogic motion that leads to a mouth full of cellulose                where     one
might casually add, madness, as if there are ever reasonable choices                  strange the waves of
fear at night, tricks that pass whenever the foxes dance like thoughts by your side
                   they whisper beneath the vaulted sky, there’s not much longer to go                     something
keeps you alive              tomorrow you say, but for now            i am you, we are one

Asim Khan has poems in several magazines, including Magma’s Climate Change Issue.

As Wild As   by Wendelin Law    

Fān Qiáng 翻牆 (“Wall Climbing”)

Climb over, over and over again, against
             the barricades of newspeak, speaking
                          of an absolute truth of the absolute rule.

                          Bastions multiply when they are breached;
             they have fortifications we cannot break
but we have ladders they cannot reach.

Fān guò qù  翻過去, fān guò qù 翻過去––but where to begin
            when the bulwarks are taller than ladders can ever reach?
                          And when the ladders are seized, how to mount and breach?

                          Across the error windows and the page not found, what is out there
             in the World Wide Web? Sorry, try again, Very Pathetically Null:
blank pages only; your climb failed. Better luck (if there’s) next time.

Fān guò qù 翻過去, fān guò qù 翻過去––every second, netizens leap
                          across the longest and most extensive structure ever built.
                                                     It’s invisible, intangible, impenetrable––almost––

                                                      if not for the will to see what’s beyond the apparatus
                                       rummaging through, through and through, thoughts
                           stripped naked, reduced, to the fear of overturning rules.

Note on the poem: “Fān qiáng” (the pinyin for 翻墙, or 翻牆 in traditional Chinese) means “to climb over a wall”. It is also common slang in China for breaching the “great firewall” of government internet censorship. Using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) is one popular circumvention method; it doesn’t always work. Climbers risk criminal prosecution. Every failed VPN embodies another meaning–– websites that are Very Pathetically Null.
This poem was first published in Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, Hong Kong.

Wendelin Law (@wendylawwrites) is a poet and fiction writer born and raised in Hong Kong’s concrete jungle. Her poems, haunted by the shadows of monstrous high-rises, have appeared in Voice & Verse, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Hillfire Anthology and elsewhere.

Bloodwork   by Vasiliki Albedo

Sounds Like Cut but Singes

I perk up
at every mention of fire—
why is that?
Did I play with
crossing things out in ash,
taking their potential?
Κατάρα is what she gave me,
my mother, maul
of a flaming dog.
She said I curse you
with children like you
who never listen and slap back,
devils who set their rooms alight.
You will know what it’s like,
she said. But I never
had children only her
pains, the burns.

Vasiliki Albedo won The Poetry Society’s Stanza competition, 2022, and Poetry International’s portfolio prize, 2021. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Oxford Poetry, Magma, Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Ambit, Wasafiri, Mslexia and elsewhere.

The body of memory is thick-skinned   by Perla Kantarjian

water does not clear away all blood

the body as a tree is a cliché
but our hands are pomegranates.

when i say our hands are pomegranates
i don’t mean fertility or abundance

or all the spiritual things–
what i mean is red

what i mean is stained scatterings
what i mean is fiery pulp beneath

the furrows what i mean is we know
why noor in Armenian is pomegranate

why noor in Arabic is light
what i mean is we remember

the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Murat,
Lake Geoljik, and them all,

oh, how we know the waters well,
we know what taints their stillness.

now, we are the new faces of the ghosts
of the families they mass-threw into the depths

and all the water bodies we didn’t drown in
we soaked up instead, hid them safe

in the linings of our palms.
let not the red fruit we feed on

nor the sweetness in our hands
fool anyone.

with one rupture we will wash up
on their shores as God-hungry floods

Perla Kantarjian is an award-winning Lebanese-Armenian writer, editor, and journalist. Her work has appeared in over 30 publications including Electric Literature, AMBIT, and on the Poetry Society’s website. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from UEA, and her website is

Flow Apparitions   by Jac Common

from sonnets for wet places

ish cistern

resonance is like that: mimetic unseeable shades of green
that water passes through on its way to narrow spectral treatment
works in a Byzantine humidity dream of throwing open the windows
to invite moths fed on marshes
where is the inundated timing of a lacustrine convert?
cistern of civility
in the reservoir new pylons are around leg deep in existent diminuendo
Old English of once-common waterland impossible generations
of larvae witnessed this on silk palimpsest
jacking in of the city to gridlike
imaginary, unfrequency
new fingers
loop wet codas

Jac Common is a writer from Nottingham, UK. Their poetry has been featured most recently in SPAM and Tentacular. They are currently floating in Oxford.

The new edges of the land   by Sara Falkstad

sun bark

my first sight of the day
used to be trees on fire.
narrow tops aflame with orange, before
I could see the sun itself.

that’s how high you would have to reach
to be near the light.

april morning. the chaffinch
has found the last standing
pine tree. he tells everyone
about his wide travels
and leaves.

there are no burning treetops.
in their place a songless air
stretching coldly between the fringes
of the woods. the first rays diluted
into the milky dawn.

I am on the ground.
inhaling the scent of freshly cut wood.
missing being set on fire
by that glowing bark
on a new exceptional morning.

Sara Falkstad is a poet, educator and artist based in the Swedish countryside. Her poetry has been published in various Swedish and international literary journals and her book of poetry De enhjärtbladiga (“The Monocots”) was released in 2020. 

A Spotter’s Guide to Invisible Things   by Laura Theis

dwelling in a warm place

nothing heats
as well as shame

burning your cheeks
from the inside

is there something
you did to deserve

this life of a spoiled beloved

storm, urn or warm tongue?
let me guess

which of the three
will it be for you?

on rough winter evenings
they sometimes scratch

at the edge of your conscience
the so-called less fortunate

until you pivot
owning guarding

capsizing your small
spool of heat

then giddy
axe the day

tired of forgiving yourself for a
mosaic of privilege

sometimes you are so hot you
say yes to the cold

open a window
to let in the icy night air

and shiver a little
under your feather down duvet

Laura Theis’ exophonic work is widely anthologised and appears in Poetry, Mslexia, Rattle, Aesthetica, Alchemy Spoon, etc.  Her debut ‘how to extricate yourself’, an Oxford Poetry Library Book-of-the-Month, won the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize.  She’s a 2022 Women Poets’ Prize finalist.

Where the leaves fall   by Ojo Taiye

I Am Creating Foreign Lands to Leave My Own

I’m nearing thirty. She is long dead.
I sing although I have no tongue.

I sing with putty over my eyes. A cold
excited fire warms the rolling plains.

My mother and the morning light calling me.
How everything about me is asking —

Memory as in wealth, as in forgetfulness,
when it’s wanted, when it’s needed.

Regret is a strong word. I am where it is.
A confession without any catechist present.

I need someone to hold me down. I am where
I am supposed to be. I say rain, I mean mole.

I mean cancer. I mean brochure. Not a pixel,
more of a postcard from my grandmother,

lonely walk of a woman gone to war, and I climb
into a gray forest, a mobius strip of endless U-turns.

Historical odds. My mother with eyes like abscess.
As in how she keeps changing, how we’ve always

been like this. Refugees, made of country lanes,
trees, flowers and salt. I mean prisoners. I mean

any child, any parents unhappy. A group of skin
disease is called “charity”. There is a yellow finch

at the door. As in shadows are crawling all over me.
My monument to shame, nothing but my bones

are left. I’ve heard, many years ago, of our coastal
wanderings, the rolling waves of our unhurried pace.

How this body is a sponge, a heap and a life saver.
This is how I find clarity, how I know I only want

to live: a new born calf, cold and wet.

This poem was first published in an exhibition catalogue for Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast.

Ojo Taiye is an Nigerian eco-artist and writer. He is always investigating the imaginative potential of language to capture the minutiae of daily life and the natural world. Alongside working for a rural hospital, Taiye is a freelance writer for multiple magazines and organizations. 

You Were Here All Along   by Jinhao Xie

You hold my hand along Oxford street

You hold my hand along Oxford street, and I am your child again.
Still feeling the guilt for not picking you up at Heathrow.
We are accustomed to missing unions like that.
Life isn’t scripted TV shows. You say,
licking strawberry ice cream off your hand. Knowing

how you came for my graduation from Chengdu
to Canterbury knowing the flights, the trains and the waiting
Knowing that your body barely spoke enough language to ask
for help. Knowing that you had to salvage sorrys
and thank yous from my nursery rhymes.
Knowing your wit, I am not surprised that you managed to arrive.

Right now, I am angry that you are tired.
Too much of following my footsteps, you complain,
crouching on a bench by the river Thames. Too eager
to love, I accuse you like you once did me.
I want you to see everything, everything I’ve seen.
You take off your pumps and suck in air
as the blisters kiss your heels like the sun.

Gesturing me to sit next to you and tenderly
you speak like a poet, my dear,
be my eyes to see the world and be my ears to listen
to all the songs.

Jinhao Xie, born in Chengdu, is a Barbican Young Poet and a member of Southbank Centre New Poets Collective. Their poems appear in POETRY, Poetry Review, Harana, bath magg and elsewhere. They are interested in nature, the mundane, and personhood.


Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2022

Judged by Alycia Pirmohamed

Deadine: 1 August 2022

Magma invites you to enter our third pamphlet competition. We are delighted to have Alycia Pirmohamed as judge.

  • First Prize: publication of the winning pamphlet + launch reading.
  • Poets on the Shortlist of 10 will each get a paragraph of feedback from the judge
  • The winner and 3 others will have a poem published in Magma
  • All shortlisted poets will have a poem published on our website

Alycia Pirmohamed will read 50 entries selected by Magma editors.

The Judge

Alycia Pirmohamed is the author of Hinge, Faces that Fled the Wind, and Second Memory (co-authored with Pratyusha). Her collection Another Way to Split Water is forthcoming in 2022. Alycia is co-founder of the Scottish Black People & People Of Colour Writers Network and co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics. She studied creative writing at the University of Oregon and the University of Edinburgh.

She says: “I’m drawn to poetry, whatever its theme or genre, that uses vivid language and is attentive to structure. By this, I mean poetry that has elements like surprising comparisons, evocative sounds, sensuous descriptions, and intentional forms. I’m excited when a poet passes on a story or narrative as an experience.”

                                          My hands melt
over the oak’s leaves. I encounter the first woman

by encountering my own face in the river.
Two bodies alike, one drenched

in inheritance.

             From ‘Fine Art’ by Alycia Pirmohamed

Competition rules

Your pamphlet:

  • Please send us 18-20 pages of poems
  • Poems should be typed in single spacing on one side of A4 paper and in a font size of 12
  • Start each poem on a new page. Maximum 40 lines per page. If you include a poem sequence in which the poems are 14 lines long or less, then you may put two on a page
  • All poems must be your original work. They may have been published in magazines (paper or online) and anthologies but not in a pamphlet or collection
  • Poems should be in the English language or any of its dialects. They should be for adults; and not translations of someone else’s work
  • Your pamphlet should have a title which should appear on each page. Please make a front page with the pamphlet title and list of contents
  • Entries must be anonymous. Don’t put your name or contact details on any of the pages
  • Anyone may enter unless they advise or work for Magma
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed but please let us know straight away if your pamphlet has been accepted elsewhere. The fee is not refundable
  • No changes can be made once you have submitted the pamphlet
  • In case of unforeseen circumstances Magma reserves the right to change the judge
  • We won’t return pamphlets on paper, so please keep a copy.

How to enter

  • We are now open for entries; the deadline is midnight UK time on 1 August 2022. Postal entries postmarked on that date will be accepted. Submittable users: we recommend you enter well before the deadline to avoid any technical problems arising from a last-minute rush
  • Entry costs £22, or £16 if you are a Magma subscriber. Non-subscribers may pay the subscribers’ rate if they take out a subscription when they enter:  Payment must be in pounds sterling
  • Concessions: We are offering a limited number of free entries, for those for whom the entry fee would be unaffordable.  Please email Put the word ‘concession’ in the subject line. Give your full name and brief reasons for applying – just a couple of sentences please. Information will be treated in confidence. NB This option is now closed to allow successful applicants time to submit their pamphlets.
  • If entering online, please go to our Submittable page and follow the instructions. Please put the title of your pamphlet in the title box. The file you upload may be in pdf, doc, docx, rtf, or odt format. You will be given the option to pay either by credit card or by PayPal
  • If entering by post: you may download the entry form here. Please send us two copies of your front page. Both copies should show the pamphlet title and a contents list. One copy only should also contain your contact details: name, address, email, phone number. Send your poems to: Magma (Pamphlet Competition), 3 Falkland Avenue, Finchley, London, N3 1QR, UK. Enclose a cheque made out to Magma Poetry. [Make sure to put enough stamps on the letter]
  • If entering from outside the UK it’s probably easier to enter online; PayPal will convert your fee to pounds sterling. But if you wish to enter by post from abroad you may do so provided you can include a cheque in pounds sterling
  • You may enter as many pamphlets as you like.

Judging and Results

  • Entries will be read initially by a panel of Magma editors, who will give the judge a longlist of 50
  • The judge will choose the winning pamphlet from a shortlist of 10. She will provide a short paragraph of feedback to all 10 poets
  • The winner and shortlisted poets will be contacted in October/ November 2022
  • The winning pamphlet will be published by Magma in early 2023. Copyright will remain with the author. Magma will have the right to use any of the poems for publicity
  • Magma will host a launch, either online or real-life. We’d expect the winner to help with organisation and publicity for this
  • A poem from the winning pamphlet and one each from three shortlisted pamphlets will be published in Magma magazine. These poems will also be published on our website, along with a poem from each of the other shortlisted pamphlets

Enter Online: go to Magma Poetry Submittable page

Enter by Post: download Magma Competition Leaflet and Printable Entry Form


[Scroll down to read older posts:]


The Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2020


The Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2020 — Shortlist Announced




The Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2020 is open for submissions! Find out how to enter here.




Scroll down to read about our previous competition and winning pamphlet:


We are delighted to announce the publication of the winning pamphlet in our inaugural Open Pamphlet Competition, set up in celebration of Magma’s 25th Anniversary Year.

The author of this stunning work is Alice Willitts, and our editor Cheryl Moskowitz writes:

“The poems in Dear, can neither be classified as grief poems nor eulogy, yet they manage the intensity and ecstasy of both. These are poems of embodiment, evoking the presence of something which is disintegrating or already gone; they do not seek to mend what is broken but rather to see it absolutely in its beautiful broken state. As the title suggests, much of the writing is framed as a direct address to absence, centrally from a daughter to a mother with dementia – intimate but distant.

In this pamphlet Alice Willitts masters the language of transience. She is concerned with the real and the ethereal, the here and the not here. Here are poems about effects of forgetting in the natural world, climate change, extinction, disappearing, dissolution and the urgent need for regeneration.

Willitts calls herself a ‘plantswoman’. In Dear, she has sown the seeds of something truly special.”

Pamphlet – “Dear,” by Alice Willitts
Special instructions e.g. gift









Magma Open Pamphlet Competition 2018 —  Results

The results of the Magma Open Pamphlet Competition can now be revealed. Since the end of September right up until last week, we have been sifting, evaluating and re-evaluating our choices. When we decided to run a pamphlet competition to celebrate 25 years of Magma, we were excited as well as a little apprehensive. What would the standard be? How would a board of poets with diverse tastes come together to decide on a winner and 10 other pamphlets out of the hundreds sent to us? Would we all fall out in the process? The answers to these questions are: high; with surprising ease; and not yet!

Of course, there were differing views along the way, but even when poems in a pamphlet might not be to every board member’s taste, it is impossible to ignore well-crafted and strong poetry. In the sifting process, pamphlets that stood a chance of being appreciated by other board members went through to the next round. When it came to selecting the winner and top ten, even closer reading was necessary before we narrowed the list down to possible contenders for the top spots.  Looking through the comments from the judges over the past months, it is interesting how views and responses altered. This was not always the case – some firm favourites remained firm favourites, but other pamphlets appeared to blossom on re-reading, and find further favour and wider support.

We wish we could publish them all, but at the same time, we are confident that many of the poets who submitted will find a home that is right for their pamphlet, or indeed extend it to a full collection.

Several of the entries that didn’t make it to the final selection had many poems to admire, and if your pamphlet is one of those that didn’t get through, it is worth looking at it again with fresh eyes to see how it could be potentially reworked to make it stronger.

Some pointers that might help are to check that the title captures the imagination and the ear; that your pamphlet opens with a strong poem; that there is some sense of overall coherence or tone – this doesn’t mean that all the poems have to be on the same theme, but a guiding principle reveals a poet in control of their work. How do the poems look on the page? Are there a few ‘fillers’ in the middle that could be removed and be replaced by stronger work? Do any poems outstay their welcome? What journey has your reader gone on by the end?

Our winning pamphlet, Dear, by Alice Willitts, which will be published next spring, received unanimous support from the Magma judges. Every one of us liked it for its imagination, the way it takes interesting risks and the effective use of form to express dementia and loss.

We are looking forward to publication and to celebrating with Alice in the spring as her pamphlet becomes part of Magma’s 25th anniversary celebrations and we continue to promote the best in contemporary poetry.

Many thanks to all our winners and to every poet who submitted a pamphlet.

We wish you a very merry festive season and a wonderful 2019.

Lisa Kelly


Magma Open Pamphlet Competition Results


Winning pamphlet

1. Dear, by Alice Willitts

Shortlisted pamphlets

2. /si:d/ by Ben Egerton

3. Satyress by Audrey Molloy

4. I invented a metaphysics by Alison Winch

Commended pamphlets (in alphabetical order)

A Lone Poem by Jeri Onitskansky

Boi by Nicola Bray

Crabapple by Cherry Doyle

Farm Boy and the Avenue of Saints  by Pat Winslow

Kisu by Soul Patel

Paper Dolls by Katherine Lockton

Re:Creation by Claire Cox










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