Call for Submissions! Straining at the Seams – Poems for Nigeria at 100

Nigerian FlagDeadline: 31 March 2013

Kairos Productions is pleased to invite submissions from poets for publication in an anthology titled Straining at the Seams: Poems for Nigeria at 100. The anthology, intends to discuss the life and times of Nigeria since the merger of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, will be published in the third quarter of 2013. This will contribute to the celebration of the centenary existence of Nigeria.

There is no restriction as to form or length of the poems to submit but each poem should address the challenges, achievements and hopes of the 100-year-old Nigeria. Authors can submit a maximum of 3 poems for consideration. You may submit unpublished or published poems. In the case of published poems, you will be required to certify that you own the copyright. Authors retain the copyrights to all their works.

Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please send an email to the editor at with your name and Straining at the Seams as the subject line. Please send all submissions as an attachment in one MS Word document. Your submission should also include the following:

i. Name
ii. Email address
iii. Mailing address
iv. Mobile phone number
v. A short bio of not more than 80 words

Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.

Submissions are open until 31 March 2013 and final decisions made by 30 April 2013.

No submission fees are required and no royalties will be paid to authors. Every author whose poems are published in the anthology will receive 2 complimentary copies of the book and can purchase additional copies at 30% discount.

Editor: Kabura Zakama
Editorial Consultant: Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
Publisher: Kairos Productions

For You at Christmas – A Poem

Ring the bells – a dozen bells
And we know that Christmas is here

Cold gale from the Sahara
Like the wise men from Far East
Bring us gifts of peace and cracked lips
Cracked lips give thanks from joyful hearts

Harmattan breaks our lips like match sticks
Shards of lip skin weathered raw, and dry
Fall like snowflakes in the Plateau
May all our sorrows and pains be crushed
And our tears become flowing rivers of living joy

Kids, give thanks for milk, lollipop
And drops of honey
New clothes, new shoes, bags and toys
Go fetch the hollies with daddy!

Give hearty thanks!
Fathers: for wife and kids and family
Pay homage to the eternal Lord
Mothers: for husbands and kids,
Family and jolly friends

We all, for life and health and peace
Give thanks to the Lord of the harvest

It’s that season again
Show love to the ends of the world
Start where you are, every other day
Show love at Yuletide, and beyond
This is for you, loved one, at Christmas

(c) Gbenga Awomodu, November 2011

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For Daniel (Happy Birthday)

Monday September 27th 2011 was the birthday. Our State prayer secretary (Nigeria Christian Corpers Felllowship, Benue Chapter) was a year older and, despite myself feeling very sickly and physically exhausted, I was able to come up with this poem in less than two hours. What do you think? Here goes:

Flip, flop. Flip, flop.
Time saunters by, and surprises you

No, time dashes by
like a man utterly pressed,
As one pursued by death.
Suddenly, you open your eyes
to realise, eon is gone!

Today, another day
Bless God’s name as always;
For all He’s done, and grace
to see another day; another year

Do you remember that day?
You came forth, a product of war
amidst tightening lashes, pull and push
Torn between life and death
The woman lived to tell the tale
You were born, one in a million

That dawn of your life is a Mystery
Like ‘The One’ who made you.
Seven times He carved you;
In excellence and for excellence
Daniel, you were etched,
out of the Master’s choicest clay

Chidike, one endued with strength from on High
One with wisdom from the East
Rise and rise like the morning Sun
Seek, and fulfil purpose before dusk
When the sun wanes, and the night bites

Count your blessings,
One after the other
For you were, but dust
before the sun rose and earth froze
You came forth victorious, man of valour
Ariwodo, you surprised many by that victory!

Yesterday, today, and always;
He teaches you to number your days
Give your heart to wisdom till drop
Live the Life in full, fulfill destiny;
take it, take charge.
Happy Birthday!

(c) Gbenga Awomodu, September 2011

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