CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Jazz Poetry – A South African Anthology (CLOSED)

Myesha Jenkins | January 6th, 2016 | poetry seen | No Comments

I’ve lived with jazz for over 40 years. Discovered in college, jazz was always the background sound of my life. While temping as a waitress at Koncepts Cultural Gallery in Oakland, I saw it up close, from Billy Harper and Cassandra Wilson to Sun Rah and Pharoah Sanders. I’m comfortable in nightclubs (that club in Lagos isn’t very different from the one in Havana or Johannesburg.) I have racks of CDs of local jazz, Latin jazz, American jazz. When I moved to Johannesburg in 1993, I just continued in my ways hanging out at the Bass Line and Kippies, listening to Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku and McCoy Mrubata, hearing Sibongile Khumalo for the first time, later cheering Siya Makuzeni and weeping to the songs of Simphiwe Dana.
After moving here, I began to write poems and discovered my own creativity. Poetry has truly been a calling and a blessing. Some of my words were even written late at night listening to these musicians. Writing is the best part of living for me.

Jazz is magic! It brought me back to life once. I was sick and depressed and had had no music in my life for three years. One night, I walked into a jazz club and something started to stir. When I took out my notebook it was like meeting an old familiar friend. The words flowed … in jazz!

I invite you to join me in sharing what jazz does for you. Let’s make a book — swinging hard from page to page, bluesing and bebopping and maybe, improvising, even being free.

Please send me poems that reflect jazz for you …
tributes * to be accompanied by jazz * how jazz makes you feel * in the club playing on the bandstand * watching * loving music makers * a specific memory related to jazz music and/or musicians * that sound like jazz … Yes, you get the picture


  • South African citizen or have permanent residency in South Africa
  • Submissions limited to a maximum of five poems per person
  • Submissions must use: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1½ line spacing
  • Maximum of two pages per poem
  • Will accept unpublished and published material (please give citation)
  • Selections will remain the prerogative of the editor
  • English preferred but submissions accepted in all South African languages
  • Include a brief biography (maximum 100 words)

All submissions must be made before 1 February 2016 to [email protected]

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