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The Ipikai Poetry Journal is published four times a year. At least, that’s the idea ;-).

Call for Submissions: Open

We are currently accepting submissions for Issue 5 of Ipikai

Rules & Guidelines

  1. Unless otherwise stated, all submissions must be previously unpublished and must be the original work of the poet submitting the work. The editor, in consultation with the editorial board has the final decision on the work to be published.
  • We only accept unpublished work.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.
  • There is no remuneration for published poems. All published poets will be entered for the annual Phillip Zhuwao Prize for Poetry which will be announced at the beginning of each year. See below for more information about the prize.
  • Please note that we receive a high volume of work and may not be able to give detailed feedback on all poems that we cannot publish.
Submit your poetry

How to Submit

  1. Read the guidelines on this page.
  2. Read the information about the theme for the current issue.
  3. Email your work to poetry[at]
  4. You will receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes (Be sure to check your spam folder as well).

Thank you!

Submit your poetry

How to format your bio

  • The author bio is written in third person
  • The author’s name is formatted in bold
  • Previous stories/poems published should be in quotes e.g. “Friday Blues”
  • Previous books published should be italicised e.g. Leaves of Grass

    John Banda
    is the award-winning author of Harare Hwindis and Comrade. His short story, “Fire Pit,” won the All Stories Africa Award in 2022. He was born and raised in Hwange and educated at Midlands State University. He graduated with a BA in English and teaches Literature in English at Odzi High School. You can find more of John’s works online at

About Our Calls for Submissions

Our calls for submissions fall into two categories:

Zimbabwe Calls

These are open to Zimbabwean poets wherever they live in the world. Work can be submitted in English, Shona or Ndebele. For our purposes, Zimbabwean poets are those who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Were born in Zimbabwe,
  • Have at least one parent who was born in Zimbabwe,
  • Are Zimbabwean permanent residents,
  • Are Zimbabwean citizens.

International Calls

These are open to any poets around the world. Work must be submitted in English.

While the focus of the journal is Zimbabwean poetry, we realize that one of the best ways to develop our poetry community is to forge ties with poets and institutions that support poetry around the world.

The International Calls helps us connect Zimbabwean poets and poetry to the global community of poets.

Publishing Schedule

The journal endeavours to publish one issue every quarter, but so far we are managing one every third. We have ambitions too.

Each issue has a specific theme and the poetry that most fits in with the current theme will be considered first for the respective issue.

All poets retain copyright to their poems. By submitting your work, you agree that the Ipikai Poetry Journal and the Zimbabwe Poets Society can publish your work on their websites, social media platforms, printed material, anthologies and other media we use to promote the work of Zimbabwean poets.

The Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize

The Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize

The Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize was initiated by a gift from Tinashe Mushakavanhu to the Zimbabwe Poets Society.
It honors Zhuwao, a young Zimbabwean poet who died in 1997, aged 27. He was a brilliantly original poet. His poems have been described as ‘visceral, sharp-witted, linguistically playful, and uncompromising in their anarchic aesthetic and intensity.’

Zhuwao didn’t go far with his education and was a self-taught writer who read voraciously. He was widely published in South African literary magazines such as Bliksem, Contrast, New Coin and Staffrider. His collection, Sunrise Poison, was published in 2018 by Deep South in South Africa, twenty-one years after his death.

As Ipikai and The Zimbabwe Poets Society, we relate to Zhuwao’s youth and the reality of unseen and unrecognized talent around us. We commit to championing poets, young and old, new and established.

The Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize is one way of doing this.


Answers to your questions. If you have other queries, please contact us.

Does the Ipikai Poetry Journal pay for submissions?

We currently do not pay for published poems. All poems that are accepted for publication are entered into the annual Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize and a winner selected from there. Through the Zimbabwe Poets Society, we also organize workshops and other events for poets whose work shows promise.

How often is the journal published?

The Ipikai Poetry Journal is published four times a year, once every quarter. You can keep a look out for calls for submissions on this website and on the Zimbabwe Poetry Society social media platforms.

What language should the poetry be in?

We currently accept poetry in English, Shona and Ndebele.

Do I need to be a member of the Zimbabwe Poets Society to be published?

No. Any Zimbabwean poet can submit a poem for publication in our standard issues. Any African poet can submit work to our Africa issues. Any international poet can submit work to our International issues.

Is everyone eligible for the Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize?

Sometimes, as Ipikai, we will put out calls for submission from poets around the world. However, the Phillip Zhuwao Poetry Prize is only open to Zimbabwean poets. While team members of Ipikai and the Zimbabwe Poets Society can submit poetry for publication, they are not eligible for the prize while they are involved with these initiatives and for up to a year after they stop working with the Zimbabwe Poets Society and any of its projects. Family members and close relatives of board members and other team members are also not eligible for the same periods of time.