Calling all Grahamstown poets!


Until I visited Grahamstown for the first time in July 2007, I had barely heard of the place. It might have been a forgotten settlement on the dark side of the moon for all I was aware.

Although supposedly a poet, I knew nothing at all of just how richly poetic a place this small city is, or of how central a part it would come to play in my life. For more than a decade now Grahamstown has been my home – and I haven’t regretted a moment of that time.

Many excellent poets live and work here, and there are many more resident elsewhere for whom Grahamstown has been much more than a place to visit or to quickly pass through on the way to somewhere else. For this City of Poets exerts a grip on the imagination of many who feel a real closeness to and (occasionally reluctant!) affection for the place. It may be frustrating, but it is special.

So when I was asked recently if I would consider compiling and editing a ‘Grahamstown poetry anthology’, not of poems about Grahamstown but one whose contributors either live here or who have a close and abiding relationship with the place, I readily agreed.

This week’s Poetic Licence, then, is an invitation to all those of you who fit the description to submit up to three poems for consideration in this so-far unnamed Grahamstown anthology. I hope you will do so.

Please read the Submission Guidelines carefully and get scribbling! Deadline for submissions is Friday 1 June 2018.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Submission Guidelines

  • Topic/theme: None. Grahamstown may form the background, whether explicitly or metaphorically, but poems are not expected to be about Grahamstown. What connects the selected poems is the close connection of their writers to the city of Grahamstown, not the poems’ subject matter.
  • You may submit up to three (3) poems, each with a maximum of 40 lines (no minimum). Please use a clear, unfussy black font (e.g. Times New Roman, 12pt) and do not illustrate your work or otherwise decorate it.
  • Entry is by email only.
  • By submitting your poetry, you affirm that it is entirely your own work and that you alone hold copyright. Any necessary ‘borrowings’ or quotations must be properly acknowledged.
  • Copyright in all accepted poems remains with the poet.
  • Please enter once only, with all submitted poems in one document (separate pages, please).
  • In the same document, include your name, contact details and a list of titles of submitted poems.
  • Also include in the same document a brief biographical note which clearly outlines your close connection to the city of Grahamstown and/or surrounding area (e.g. living or working here or having done so in the past; attending school, college or university here now or in the past; family association etc).
  • Poems may have been published previously but please include full details of the original publication if this is the case (journal/book; publisher; date).
  • Once sent, it will not be possible to change your submission, so please check that it is exactly as you would like it to appear.
  • All submissions must be in English. If single words or brief phrases in other languages are used, please include an English translation.
  • There is no submission fee.
  • Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide poets with a free copy of the anthology, but the book will be made available at a considerable discount for those contributors
    who wish to purchase copies. There is absolutely no requirement to purchase.
  • Email submissions to Harry Owen at The subject line should read ‘[Your Surname] – Grahamstown anthology’
  • Submission deadline: Friday 1 June 2018
  • N.B. – Submission of your work is not a guarantee that it will be included. Acceptance or otherwise is at the sole discretion of the editors, and no correspondence will be entered into about this.

Title: To be decided
Language: English
Pages: 100 (approx.)
Editors: Harry Owen and Amitabh Mitra
Publisher: The Poets Printery, East London

Good luck!

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