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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 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









The Magma Open Pamphlet Competition 2018

Deadline: 25 September 2018
















Magma is celebrating its 25thanniversary next year and in the run-up to this milestone we are inviting you to enter our first ever pamphlet competition, with the chance of getting published and a celebratory launch reading in 2019.

1stprize: publication of the winning pamphlet + launch reading.

Poets on the shortlist of 10 will each get a paragraph of feedback. The winner and 3 others will have a poem published in Magma.All shortlisted poets will have a poem published on our website.

Deadline: Tuesday 25thSeptember 2018

Judge: Magma Editors

Competition Rules

Your pamphlet

  • Please send us 18-24 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 must be in the English language or any of its dialects. They must be for adults and must not be translations of someone else’s work.
  • Your pamphlet must have a title which should appear on each page. Please do a front page with the pamphlet title and list of contents.
  • Entries must be anonymous. Please don’t put your name or contact details on any of the pages. And don’t give us any other information (e.g. magazine credits).
  • If submitting by post: 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.
  • If submitting through Submittable: please put the title of your pamphlet in the title box; do not include your name. In the contact details box list your name, address, email, phone number.  The document you upload may be a Pdf; Word .doc or .docx.
  • 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.
  • We won’t return your pamphlet so please keep a copy.

How to Enter

  • The deadline is midnight UK time on Tuesday 25 September. 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.
  • If entering by post, you may download our entry form here. Send your poems to: Magma (Pamphlet Competition), 3 Falkland Avenue, Finchley, London, N3 1QR, England. Enclose a cheque made out to Magma Poetry. Please make sure you’ve put enough stamps on the letter.
  • If entering Online,Please go to our Submittable page and follow the instructions. You will be given the option to pay either by credit card or by PayPal.
  • 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 are able to include a cheque in pounds sterling.
  • You may enter as many pamphlets as you like.

Judging and Results

  • Entries will be read by a panel of Magma Editors’ to decide on a shortlist of 10.
  • The Magma board will choose the winning pamphlet. A paragraph of feedback will be provided to all 10 poets.
  • The winner and shortlisted poets will be contacted in November/December 2018.
  • The winning pamphlet will be published by Magma in early 2019. Copyright will remain with the author. Magma will have the right to use any of the poems for publicity.
  • Magma will hold a launch in London. 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

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