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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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