Deadline: April 17, 2024

About the competition

 ‘And so our mothers and grandmothers have, 

 more often than not

 anonymously handed on the creative spark,

the seed of the flower

 they themselves never hoped to see

 – or like a sealed letter 

 they could not plainly read.’

– Alice Walker

The publication of the 6th issue of The Ipikai Poetry Journal comes just after the end of our celebration of Women’s Month in March. This presents Zimbabwean poets with yet another opportunity to celebrate womanhood in all its diversity. 

Womanhood extends across time, space and culture and yet so many women’s stories remain untold. 

In many narratives, we see women’s lives being depicted as revolving around the struggle to survive, the struggle to be seen and the struggle to be valued. 

This is the ultimate paradox, considering the role women play in so many aspects of life. 

Beyond physically giving birth, generations of women past and present have placed the needs of others first, empathising with them, uplifting them, and making it possible for many other wild and wonderful things to be born. 

While holding fort in this area of nurturing life, dreams and hopes, women have also stepped forward into the arenas of politics, business, the arts, and other areas of life.

These are women we meet and talk to every day, but, for many of them, no poem, song, or story will ever have their names.  

They will remain hidden from the eye until someone with a voice speaks for them and sings their praises.  According to Tillie Olsen, ‘There is so much unwritten that needs to be written.’

In 2008, when Zimbabwe experienced an economic meltdown, the worst in living memory, women’s entrepreneurial skills played a significant role in keeping the economy afloat. 

At every juncture of our history, women have been at the core of keeping our society grounded and stable.

Consequently, women’s lives, their works and their deeds need to be acknowledged and celebrated. 

In this first issue of 2024, Ipikai invites Zimbabwean poets to submit their poems on the theme of womanhood. 

Bring us your images of women as creators, teachers, carers, healers, counsellors, lovers,  grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, survivors, nurturers, defenders, champions, leaders, dreamers, providers, friends, activists and heroines; flawed, victorious, tenacious, unyielding, broken, mended, and strong. 

Competition guideline

  • We only accept unpublished work. If your poem has been published in a collection, journal, on a blog or on social media, it is not eligible. 
  • We accept simultaneous submissions — please send us a note if your work is picked up by another publication.
  • Submit your poetry in a Word document, 12 point font, Times New Roman.
  • Each poem must be a maximum of 75 lines.
  • If you’re submitting more than one poem, add them all to the same document.
  • Include your name at the end of the document. Also add a 100 word bio and any links to social media, author website, or other online profiles that you want to share with the world. Please submit your bio, written in third person, in the same document as your poem(s).
  • Please submit your work as a word document (.doc and .docx). PDFs are harder to edit.
  • If you use a pseudonym, please also add your real name. We won’t publish your real name, but it helps us when we need to verify if you are Zimbabwean.
  • Review our FAQs at the bottom of this page.
  • Read through the theme for each issue. Poems that most resonate with the theme are most likely to be published. Having said that, be creative. Go rogue if you want. We do like a bit of irreverence.
  • Submission is free.
  • Read the whole guideline and enter the competition here.
VoW Research
Author: VoW Research

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