Ends on

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.


We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.