OPEN SUBMISSIONS CALL
A Given Grace:
An Anthology of Christian Poems from the Philippines and Singapore
“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”
~ Saint Augustine of Hippo
The Christian faith has generated a rich literary tradition. Much of its spiritual writing has been in the form of religious poetry, which has become much loved. How do you, the contemporary writer, understand the Christian faith today? Who is God to you? What are your most pressing questions, and what have been your greatest struggles and triumphs? Do you own your faith—and what does it take to devote oneself to such serious and sustained effort in poetry writing?
Do you have thoughts on theological ideas of, say, ecclesiology, soteriology, pneumatology, or Christology? What of theological aesthetics or theological hermeneutics? Maybe you have favourite psalms or parables. Maybe you have something to say about moral and ethical dimensions of the religious life. How will these meditations render, articulate themselves in lyric and narrative verse? Let poetry embody the stirrings of your contemplative heart and mind. As Thomas Merton so astutely put it: “Music and art and poetry attune the soul to God.”
The anthology title takes its inspiration from 2 Timothy 1:9: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” This anthology will be edited by Eric Tinsay Valles and Desmond Francis Xavier Kon ZC-MD, scheduled for publication in late 2021.
Faith is a gift, it is said. Indeed, faith has inspired dreams of freedom, understanding and love for one another, sentiments which the island people of both countries gladly share.
This task is timely as 2021 marks the quincentennial celebration of the Christianization of the Philippines. Five hundred years ago, the first documented Catholic Mass in the Philippines was held on the Easter Sunday of 1521, officiated by Father Pedro Valderrama. The Archdiocese of Singapore also celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2021. In 1821, then-priest Saint Laurent Marie Joseph Imbert arrived in Singapore, beginning the country’s Catholic outreach. Known as one of the Korean Martyrs, he was executed for his faith in the Joseon kingdom. Imbert was eventually canonised, and thus named a saint.
Please limit poetry submissions to 1-7 poems.
We consider poetry that revolves around the Christian faith. This general position is open to interpretation, and may lend itself to any number of themes. We do hope for writings that seriously engage with Christian thought, history and practice.
Writers and/or writing should have some connection to the Philippines and/or Singapore. It may be by place of birth, nationality, a period of residency, or the poem’s subject matter.
Easter Sunday, 4 April 2021 (Extended to Whitsunday, 23 May 2021)
If necessary, this anthology project will operate on a rolling deadline, until the anthology has found its desired suite of poems.
We aim to contact contributors with accepted work after we’ve finalized selections. Because of our workload, we are unable to send out rejection correspondence. Please accept our apologies on this.
Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology. Whether the anthology will be published as a printed book, e-book or website will be determined at a later date. The anthology will have its launch in late 2021, and various authors will be invited to read their poems at this event.
1. Please include a cover letter in your email, with a contributor biography (in third person) of no more than 70 words. In the Subject Heading, please type “SUBMISSION TO GIVEN GRACE: YOUR NAME”.
2. All manuscripts must be typed, single-spaced. Please title your Word document “GIVEN GRACE: YOUR NAME”. Unless typography is crucial to the aesthetic of your poem, please use standard typefaces (font 12) such as Arial, Cambria, Georgia, Helvetica or Times New Roman.
3. Do indicate your full publication name (what you’d like to appear within the anthology) and include your name in the header on every page of the manuscript. Please also briefly describe your—or your work’s—connection to the Philippines and/or Singapore.
4. We only accept submissions via email. Submissions should be addressed to:
5. We accept new or previously published work, although we would prefer new pieces. If the works have been published before, you must still retain rights to these works. Please also indicate where the pieces first appeared for the purpose of acknowledgement. If your work is accepted for publication, we request a non-exclusive license to print your works within the anthology and for publicity purposes.
6. We encourage simultaneous submissions.
7. Our aesthetic taste is diverse. We are as charmed by traditional forms as we are by experimental innovations. Prose poems are very welcome. We’re simply looking for texts of lovely literary craft and merit, to be so blown away by your genius, we can’t wait to showcase your voice to the world.
In the wise words of James Russell Lowell: “Poetry is something to make us wiser and better, by continually revealing those types of beauty and truth, which God has set in all men’s souls.”
We welcome your poems, which we honour. All the very best with the writing, and we look forward to receiving your stellar work!