Interview with Mbizo Chirasha, Founder and Curator of the Womawords Project and Call for Submissions to Daughters of the Earth Project, an international contest

Taken on a trip in 2016 with World Vision to Sierra Leone. Courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash

I Read a Poem Today

I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to some lost, lonely
fatherless child… to embrace her

along her stone path, invoke sanity
I want to tell her: don’t sell out your
dearest dreams or buy the social OS

Instead, let the poem play you like a
musician her viola, rewriting lonely
into sapphire solitude, silken sanctity

Let it wash you like the spray of whales
Let it drench your body in the music
of your soul, singing pure prana into

the marrow and margins of your life
Let your shaman soul name your muse,
find yourself posing poetry as power and

discover the amethyst bliss of words
woven from strands of your own DNA
Yes. I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to a lost fatherless child

© 2011, Jamie Dedes (Written for an International Women’s Day forum and republished in 2012 for International Girl Child Day in 2012)



Womawords is a complex of efforts initiated by Zimbabwean poet activist in exile, Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet).  I was curious – and thought others might be as well – about the inspiration for this ambitious and worthy effort that is devoted to giving women and girls a platform to speak out about their concerns and experiences and to share their wisdom.  I think you’ll enjoy the interview. Perhaps some women reading here will want to consider submitting to the Daughters of the Earth  Project International Contest. There is no submission fee.

The Womawords Project comprises: Womawords Literary Press, Liberating Voices Journal, the Girl Child Creativity Project (now evolved into Womawords), and Daughters of the Earth Project International Contest (not for poetry only).

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: Why and when did you start Womawords?

MBIZO: The heart of a women is like an  ocean, thus  she must be proffered a free platform to express concerns, to speak rights, to voice against wrongs, to sing experiences and more. The world over we are blessed with an influx of  women and the girl child gifted not only physical stature but  mental beauty, endowed with wisdom to sub create and shape humanity. Womawords was birthed in  April 2019 as a complimentary initiative during my eye-opening  and life changing tenure with the International Human Right Art Festival.

JAMIE: Please tell us about the origin of the name.

MBIZO: The name pays tribute to the power and influence literary arts culture, words and poetry. The Womawords Project is a positive transformation from my initial project Girl Child Creativity Project, which was Zimbabwean based, and transitioned it into an international literary arts culture digital space exhibiting women’s voices and literature. Women are powerful trench soldiers; they experience a bundle of traumas from child birthing, forced intercourse, menstrual health issues, domestic violence, stigma and discrimination. A whole lot of hardships but also women are molders of humanity. I have always known of mother tongue not father tongue, hence Womawords – a metaphor that gives women from around the globe a space to express themselves through poetry , resistance  literature,  and resilience  arts.

JAMIE: What are the current activities Womawords is sponsoring?

MBIZO: The 2020 main project is the Daughters of the Earth Project, an international writer’s contest. The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women to raise their voice, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction, and essays. And they are a myriad of  issues, unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced by women globally. WOMEN must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions and to tell their experiences through this # Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project. For more details follow on the submissions portal on Womawords.

Other projects include:

  • Women of Residence Profile Features: The Press is anchored by FEATURES of Prolific Poets, Writers, Socialites and Artistic Luminaries.
  • Liberating Voices: this is a quarterly collection of voices and is guided by a specific theme of every publication.

JAMIE: What are the long-term goals?

MBIZO: Womawords Literary Press is a formula of positive change and transformation in the area of exhibiting women’s artistic voices and resistance literature by the girl child.  In the next five years we are  growing  into a  reputable book and literary arts publishing republic. Going forward within 2020 we continue to restructure by placing  and appointing representatives in more than twenty countries around the globe. These  are women writers, poets, activist, and artists using their words to bring  forth transformative change, using their poetry to expose societal tumors, wielding their artistic weapons to slash perpetuators of barbarism, using their resistance literatures to shine a light on the madness.  In March  2021, we are hosting a Womawords International Symposium with editorial associates, contributing writers, women artists, and women arts cultural activists who will convene to  share and exchange experiences through symposium presentations, poetry performances, and  story readings .

ALUTA CONTINUA!!! [“The struggle continues.” It’s a rallying cry for freedom.]

THE DAUGHTERS OF THE EARTH PROJECT

Call for Submissions

The newly initiated Daughters of the Earth Project will offer a new theme each year.  The  2020 theme is Menstrual Health and Menstrual Equity

BACKGROUND AND SCOPE: The Daughters of the Project is an international writer’s contest . The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women  to raise their voices, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction and essays. There are a  myriad  of  issues , unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced  by women globally. Women must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions, and to tell their experiences through this Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project.

TIMELINE: The Daughters of the Earth Writing Contest Project  will resume  in April  2020 and end in October  2020

April 2020- JUNE 2020( Writers Submissions and Contest Entries)

July 2020-  August 2020- ( Judging, Jury to be announced)

August 2020- September 2020 (Publicity and Awards  Gathering)

October 2020( Results and Winners Announcement)

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor. In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too.  Open to suggestion.  Connect with me if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Opportunity Knocks: “The BeZine” September Activities; 6 Calls for Submissions, 3 Competitions

“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don’t have no effect on you–
But I’m gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”
Langston Hughes, Selected Poems



Of Note: 

The current Wednesday Writing Prompt is still open for participation.  Poems on theme will be published next Tuesday.

Opportunity Knocks replaces Sunday Announcements. I post it when there are enough leads. Many leads are only announced on The Poet by Day Facebook Page.

Links to articles, events and news of interest to poets and writers are regularly published on The Poet by Day FaceBook Page.  

You are welcome (encouraged) to share your work and announcements on The BeZine Arts and Humanities Facebook Group Page

MARK YOU CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 is 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, GLOBAL, 2019 and THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE VIRTUAL EVENT, with Michael Dickel as master of ceremonies. Look for updates on this site, The BeZine, and at 100tpc.org



“This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear.

“We acknowledge that there are enormous theological differences and historical resentments that carve wedges among and within the traditions and ethnic or national groups, but we believe that ultimately self-preservation, common sense, and human solidarity will empower connections and collaboration and overcome division and disorder.” excerpt from The BeZine Mission Statement

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR

Our Annual 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change Issue

September 2019

Calls for submissions of poems, feature articles, fiction, creative nonfiction, art and photography, music videos, and documentary videos on the themes of peace, sustainability and social justice is open now through September 10, 2019.

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY: Note we also are looking for something special to be the header for The Table of Contents Page.

Your original previously published work may be submitted as long as you own the copyright.

NO simultaneous submissions for September please.

Email submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com. Please note in your subject line: For Zine September 2019.

Among the guidelines: our core team, our guest contributors, and our readership are international and diverse. No works that advocate hate or violence, promote misunderstanding, or that demean others are acceptable.

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort. While we do not pay for content, neither do we charge submission or subscription fees.

The BeZine is featured by
pf poetry
Second Light Live newsletters, website, and magazine
Duotrope®



CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

AUTHORS PUBLISH MAGAZINE publishes feature articles (250-1200 words) and eBooks about writing and publishing. Paying market. No submission fee. Details HERE.

JET FUEL REVIEW is published by Lewis University and is open for submissions of fiction, artwork, creative nonfiction, and poetry through October 15, 2019 for its fall issue. No submission fee. No payment. Details HERE.

NEWFOUND is open as of today for submissions of fiction, flash, creative nonfiction, poetry, translation, and visual arts for its Spring 2020 issue themed Virtual Realities. No fee. Honorarium. Details HERE.

THE SOUTHEAST REVIEW is published by the English Department of Forida State University. It is a biannual review that featuring poetry, literary fiction, creative nonfiction, book review, interviews, and art. Reading fee: $3. Details HERE.

YOPP! is a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights education, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression through the publication of opinion pieces, media critiques, creative non-fiction, narratives, interviews, content reviews and recommendations, compilations of resources, opportunities to help others, advanced activism theory, humor, grief, empathy, Your Story. No submission fee.  Details HERE. Read an interview with Yopp! founder/editor/curator, Kella Hanna-Wayne:  Putting the “Active” in Activism

COMPETITION

15TH ANNUAL WRITER’S DIGEST POPULAR FICTION AWARDS is open for entries through September 16, 2019. Short story (up to 4,000 words) categories are: Romance, Thriller, Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Young adults. Entry fee. Cash award and other benefits. Details HERE.

2020 NEWFOUND PROSE (fiction or nonfiction) PRIZE is open for entries from 15 September 2019 to 15 March 2010, Reading fee: $15. Cash award, publication, and contributor copies. Details HERE.

THE PENN REVIEW POETRY AND FICTIONS PRIZES are open through October 15 2019.  Entrance fee: $10. Cash award $1,000 and publication. Details HERE.



ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Women Poets, Here’s an update on Second Light Poetry Competition and information on ARTEMISpoetry Call for Submissions

Artemis pouring a libation, c. 460-450 BCE photo  courtesy of Jastrow and generously released into the public domain

“So many more women have found now their voice. Let’s celebrate poets who excite us, from Emily Bronte (say) to Jorie Graham (say). We can also start thinking seriously about differences and about inflated reputations. Let’s be wary about ‘celebrity status’. This tends to narrows true appreciation. Read voraciously. Include lesser known poets and dead poets. You will be impressed by how much exciting writing is on offer.” Convener (Founder) of Second Light Network of Women Poets, Dilys Wood, in an interview in The Poet by Day HERE.



SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION is open for entries of poetry by women on August 6th. The competition includes first prizes for best long length poem [no length limit] and best short length poem, as well as 2nd and 3rd prizes and commendations publication in ARTEMISpoetry magazine for all these [or extracts in the case of long poems]. Also readings to prize winners and commended poets. For full details got to Second Light Live HERE

UPDATE: I’ve published the announcement on this competition twice, once HERE and then again yesterday included in Opportunity Knocks. According to the guidelines HERE: “Poems on any subject. Must be the unaided work of the writer and must not have been previously published unless in a magazine only.” I asked for clarification and Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood confirmed that “magazine” includes Zines and personal blogs. Good news for those of us who publish online and have been included in digital publications. Note the deadline is August 4th but you may submit via email, so go for it.  Good luck.


ARTEMISpoetry is the bi-annual journal (May and November) of the Second Light Network of Women Poets, published under their Second Light Publications imprint. Members receive a copy as part of their membership benefits. Issues are available to non-members by subscription at £9 p.a. or as a one-off purchase at £5 a copy (plusp&p).

Prices with p&p:
Subscription:   UK £12,   Eur £17,   ROW £20
Single Issue:   UK £6,   Eur £9,   ROW £10

Cheque payable to “Second Light” and send to Administrator, Anne Stewart at 20 Clovelly Way, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0WD. Please use the Subscription order form and include your telephone number with your order in case of query. Or you can subscribe online here. Enquire for back copies and/or Sold Out issues as pdf for £4 (e-mail Administrator editor@poetrypf.co.uk).

See Dilys Wood’s Guest Blog on Ambitious Women Poets at Brittle Star

ARTEMISpoetry at the Poetry Library’s digital archive

ARTEMISpoery (& Myra Schneider/John Killick’s Writing Your Self at the Bluebell Books blogspot

ARTEMISpoetry at Abegail Morley blogspot

Submission Guidelines

Submission is open to women only, including non-members. We aim to publish new work, so submissions should be unpublished (by ‘published’ we mean: in print, on the internet or by way of media broadcast or on CD), and not ‘out in submission’ elsewhere, whether to magazines or competitions.

ARTEMISpoetry Issue 23, November 2019 (& Issue 24, May 2020)

Editors for Issue 23 are: General & Artwork – Dilys Wood and Myra Schneider; Poetry – Anne Stewart.

Readers’ Letters are invited. Comments on the journal’s content or anything you would like to see discussed in relation to women’s writing. (max 100 words).

All submissions: submit paper copy initially to Dilys Wood, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. Please write “ARTEMISpoetry” on your envelope. (Enquiries only: e-mail Administrator editor@poetrypf.co.uk)

Poems: Issue 23 deadline – 31st August 2019

Poems by women of any age. Poems should be typed, or if written, then very neatly. Each poem should commence on a new page, headed “Submission for ARTEMISpoetry”. Please SEND TWO COPIES. Do include your name with each poem and include your name and full contact details in your submission. Long poems are considered. Submit up to 4 poems to a maximum of 200 lines in all. Our line counts are for poem (and any footnote) text lines only, so excluding titles and breaks.

Contributors whose poetry is accepted will be notified by 31st October 2019.

Poetry Editor: Anne Stewart, whose latest collection is The Last Parent, published in April this year by Second Light Publications. She has an MA (Dist.) in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam. Awards include The Bridport Prize (2008), the Southport Poetry Prize, the Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy), and a Hawthornden Fellowship. She created and runs the poet showcase site poetry p f. More at Anne’s website.

Artwork: Issue 23 deadline is 14th September 2019

Black/white photographs or line-art, maximum of 4 pieces. Please give a title for each work. We are looking to include a wide range of subject-matter and style. Images which work best have good definition and contrast. … Paper copy to Dilys Wood (as above)

Contributors whose artwork is accepted will be notified by 31st October 2019.


“SECOND LIGHT is affirming and creative, thoughtful and wide-ranging. It is unique in offering practical advice, support, activities geared to promoting visibility and publication outlets for older women poets.” Poet, Katherine Gallagher


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman.

I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

Opportunity Knocks: Six Calls for Submissions and One Competion

“How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

“So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.”  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet



Of Note: 

Opportunity Knocks replaces Sunday Announcements. I post it when there are enough leads. Many leads are only announced on The Poet by Day Facebook Page.

Links to articles, events and news of interest to poets and writers are regularly published on The Poet by Day FaceBook Page.  

You are welcome (encouraged) to share your work and announcements on The BeZine Arts and Humanities Facebook Group Discussion Page

MARK YOU CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 is 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, GLOBAL, 2019 and THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE VIRTUAL EVENT, with Michael Dickel as master of ceremonies. Look for updates on this site, The BeZine,  and at 100tpc.org

Join us for this week’s WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT, Sojouner and Stranger; poems submitted on theme in response to Wednesday Writing Prompt are posted on site the following Tuesday, making a lovely collection for poets and readers.   


CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

ABOUT PLACE JOURNAL is open for submissions of poetry, essays, creative nonfiction an other prose, and aduio/visual artwork through August 1. No submission fee. No payment. Details HERE.

BRYANT LITERARY REVIEW is published once a year in May and opens for submissions from September 1 – December 1 (mark your calendars)  of fiction up to 5000 words and poetry and photography and artwork for their cover. No submission fee. Payment is two copies. Details HERE

CARVE MAGAZINE short story, poetry, and nonfiction submissions year-round from anywhere in the world. No submission fee if you are a subscriber. Paying market. Details HERE.

THE HUNGRY CHIMERA publishes fiction, poetry, and photography and is open for submissions. Details HERE.

IRON CITY MAGAZINE is accepting submissions of short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, one-act plays, and art through July 21. Submissions are welcome from “current/former prisoners, current/former prison volunteers, family and friends of prisoners, and current/former prison staff. Current/former prisoners may submit work on any topic. Prison volunteers, family, friends, and staff should submit only work on prison-related memories, perspectives, or insights …. To accommodate prisoners who do not have computer and/or internet access, we accept both electronic and mail-in submissions. Additionally, we accept both typed and handwritten work. There is no submission fee. Please see the guidelines below for each category.” Details HERE.

THE OFFING is open for submissions of art, essay, memoir and fiction. No submission fee. Paying market. Details HERE

COMPETITION

NARRATIVE 11TH ANNUAL POETRY CONTEST is open to all writers, and all entries will be considered for publication. $1,500 First Prize; $750 Second Prize; $300 Third Prize; Ten finalists receive $75 each. Entry fee is $25.

“We all need people who delight in our words.”
L.L. Barkat, in Rumors of Water


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton