The poetry magazine with a different editor every issue

Welcome to our Submittable page. Please read our submission rules carefully.

Thank you for submitting to Magma, we look forward to reading your work.

MAGMA 77: Act Your Age
edited by Gboyega Odubanjo, Selina Rodrigues, and Christine Webb

Submissions closing date: 31st December 2019



What is your age? Stop a moment, really think about it. Do you play the part assigned by your age and are you happy with it or are you infuriated by assumptions about age-groups -  ‘baby-faced’ 'rebellious teen’, or 'cynical' mid-lifer, 'sprightly' elder? Can you fruitfully defy your age, and how do you, how does anyone, go about it? Boldly, slyly, fearfully, joyfully? Or are you comfortable being the age you are?

Send us poems that explore these ideas. Remember, draw on, argue with or reject the poets who have inspired or irritated you - whether it's William Blake with his Infant Joy, Rimbaud’s rejection of seriousness at 17 (in Novel), Carol Ann Duffy's Mrs Rip van Winkle welcoming the 'still deep waters of late middle age' or Elaine Feinstein's 'Getting Older' – where she tells us 'The first surprise: I like it’.

Has your culture or community affected how you define your age or how you acted at certain times? 

Kayo Chingonyi explores what is lost and gained across generations: 

A child who never sloughed off the childish estate
To cross the river boys of our tribe must cross
In order to die and come back grown.

Kumukanda, from Kumukanda, Kayo Chingonyi (Chatto)

Authority, freedom and conflict can mean different behaviour for different ages, arising from the politics of the time:

… a child would be forced to line up behind other children to slap their teacher in the face as a young Red Guard stood by, watching. Those adolescents were crazed colts 

My Mother’s Fables, from Fleche, Mary Jean Chan (Faber) 

Spoken word, page poetry, political poetry, confessional poetry and elegies. How does age play a part in our beliefs on who should be producing these forms and genres? Have the economic situation for young people, life choices for ‘baby boomers’ and the skills of technical ‘whizz kids’ forced them into acting a role?

So, how do you act your age? D A Prince’s children view their reckless parents with alarm:

The children’s eyes, smudged black with lack of sleep,
glare disapproval. What time d’you think…?
they splutter when we stay out late
breaking the rules again. And in those clothes! 

Responsibilities, from Common Ground, D A Prince (Happenstance)

We, the Editors, span a range of ages! Gboyega says, “I'm excited to read these poems - it will be intriguing to see how people approach the questions of age, and of our age. The opportunity to delve into different mind-sets and realities will be brilliant.” Selina says, “I remember my younger years very clearly and being rather 'in the middle' - I am intrigued by what the possible coming years may show me.” Christine says, “I’m looking forward to reading poems from many age-groups, and to meeting many attitudes to age. Greater age hasn’t lessened my relish for life, and I live in hopes of the promised deeper wisdom.” 

We look forward to reading your poems. 

Co-editors: Gboyega Odubanjo, Selina Rodrigues, Christine Webb.

Submission Rules

  • The submissions window for ‘Act Your Age’ is open from 1st November – 31st December 2019.
  • We welcome poems that have not been previously published, either in print or online. 
  • Up to 4 poems may be sent in a single document via Submittable, or by post if you live in the UK. 
  • Word documents are preferred but if your work contains graphic design, or unusual text flow or shapes, JPEGs or PDFs will be accepted.
  • SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS: we accept work that has also been submitted to other publications but require you to notify us immediately if the work is accepted for publication elsewhere. Your work must be withdrawn via Submittable, or for partial withdrawals, please add a note to your submission.
  • POSTAL SUBMISSIONS: we accept contributions by post from the UK only, addressed to:

                                Magma Issue 77 Submissions
                               23 Pine Walk
                               SM5 4ES

  • Postal contributions must be accompanied by an s.a.e. The writer’s name must appear on each page. Postal submissions post-marked on the closing day of the submission period will be considered. Postal submissions are not acknowledged until a decision is made.
  • Poems published in the magazine may also be published on this website and as a PDF version for Exact Editions. Poems remain the copyright of their author. Contributors receive a copy of the issue in which they appear and and can purchase further copies at a discount. They may also be invited to read at the issue’s launch reading.


The Magma 2019/20 Poetry Competition is now open for entries in both categories.
The Judge’s Prize – poems of 11 to 50 lines
The Editors’ Prize – poems of up to 10 lines  

Award-winning poet Caroline Bird is the judge for the Judge’s Prize for poems of 11 to 50 lines and she will be reading all entries – there are no sifters.

The Editors’ Prize is judged by a panel of Magma Editors and is for poems of up to 10 lines. The prize money for both competitions is the same, so double your chances and try your luck at both.   

First prize for the Judge’s and Editors’ Prize is £1000, second prize £300 and third prize £150. The six prize-winning poems will be published in Magma and there will also be five special mentions for the Judge’s Prize and for the Editors’ Prize.  Winning and commended poets will be invited to read their poems at a Magma Competition Event in Spring 2020.

Last year's winning poems are published in the Work Issue (Issue 74) available now from our website.

You may enter as many poems as you like in each category, but you must submit for each category in separate documents. Please upload the poems in one document for each category. Please name the documents Judge’s Prize or Editors’ Prize as applicable and submit all of the poems for that category in the relevant document.   

Do not include your name or any other identifying marks on the poems themselves.   

You can then pay for all entries by picking the appropriate payment amount for total poems submitted. Subscriber and non-subscriber entries will be cross-referenced against our subscriber list and incorrectly paid entries may be disqualified. You can subscribe to Magma from £22.00 via our Get Magma page but please do this before you enter. The Work Issue (Issue 74) edited by Benedict Newbery and Pauline Sewards contains last year's winning poems and will remain the current issue until Issue 75 is published early November 2019, after which it will be available as a back issue.

The entry fees are £5 for the first poem, £4 for the second and £3.50 for the third and each subsequent poem. Magma magazine subscribers benefit from reduced fees: £4 for the first poem, £3 for the second, and £2.50 for the third and each subsequent poem. The competition closes on 11 January 2020.

No alterations can be made after receipt, nor fees refunded.
All poems must be previously unpublished.
The judge’s and editors’ decisions are final and no correspondence can be entered into. No entrant may win more than one prize in each section.
Should the named judge be unable to proceed, we aim to substitute an alternative judge of equivalent standing as a poet.
Prizewinners will be notified individually before 1 March 2020. The results will also be published on the Magma Poetry website after the prize-giving event.
Copyright of each entry remains with the author, but Magma Poetry has the right to first publication of the winning poems in print and/or online within six months of the competition deadline.  
Entry implies acceptance of all the rules. Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification.

Magma Poetry