call for submissions: The Language Issue (deadline extended)

Poetry Potion | August 26th, 2013 | editorial | No Comments


This is a call for the fourth print quarterly of Poetry Potion.

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Poetry is word play at its finest. Poets can take ordinary language and transform it into euphoria-inducing charms. Poetry is, after all, the act of creating using language because language is our main tool.

This next edition is:

the language issue

In Africa, the language issue has long been debated by authors such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Es’kia Mphahlele and many others for years. While some writers may advocate for writing in the mother tongue, some don’t care or choose English because they claim it reaches more readers. But the language issue not that simple, it’s not black and white. What  we know for sure is that languages die out when they are not used and that we want to use language to liberate not create barriers. So where do we start? The language issue is an on-going debate that this edition aims to add to.

This edition isn’t aiming to resolve the language debate but rather to inspire more debate by bringing young minds into the debate and exploring the issue further. Playing on the word “ISSUE”, we are looking for poetry that not only tackles the theme technically but also digs deep into the content.

We are looking for poetry that plays with, elevates and celebrates language. We also want to explore the tensions between languages. These poems can be in ANY language.

DEADLINE: 13 September 2013 27 Sept 2013 5PM (+2:00 GMT)


  1. Publishing on the page versus online has different implications so think about how your poem is going to look on the page. Look at our last edition to see our preferred page orientation
  2. We plan to bring on translators but we do prefer the poets translation so do include an English translation, if you can, but don’t know worry if you can’t.
  3. Include a glossary, for sure.
  4. Maximum poetry length is 30 lines

I’m looking for poems that go beyond just “expressing yourself”.

The best poems will do more than use the theme phrase in a poem. In fact, you don’t have to use the theme phrase in your poem at all.

The best poems will pick the phrase apart and interpret and discover something amazing in the theme “the language issue“. The best poems will play with form – stanza, rhyme, syntax, aesthetic, language, subject. The best poems will challenge, dazzle, move, inspire the reader.

To submit poems, click here. Make sure to read our submission guidelines before submitting.

If you have any questions, then please comment below, or on our Facebook page or on Twitter (#thelanguageissue) or send an email.

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