CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Responses to ‘Poems from Guantanamo’

Call for Submissions: Responses to Poems from Guantanamo
Submission Deadline: March 7, 2016

The Tea Project, in conjunction with Warrior Writers, Links Hall, and the Poetry Center of Chicago, seeks submissions for publication of creative responses to Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak, a collection of twenty-two poems by seventeen detainees (some of whom are still detained). Submissions may be poetry, prose, and other short works of creative writing (no longer than 500 words) responding to the book in part or whole.

Kate Allen, the Director of Amnesty International UK, writes of Poems from Guantanamo:
“The poems in this collection were written against enormous odds. The men detained in Guantanamo Bay are routinely held in solitary confinement, condemned without a fair trial, many of them tortured. Through it all, some have taken sanctuary in poetry, and through this small volume we hear their voices and glimpse their innermost feelings. Their poems are a remarkable and moving testament to the power of the human spirit.”


Writers of any background may submit. Seventeen pieces will be selected for publication. Selection preference will be given to those directly affected by war, detention, and/or growing Islamophobia. This includes veterans of any era, refugees, torture survivors, individuals currently or formerly incarcerated, individuals from diaspora communities affected by the Global War on Terror, and/or individuals forced to negotiate growing Islamophobia.

It is preferred that your response focuses on a specific piece from Poems from Guantanamo; however, it is not mandatory. Writers may consider responding to a series of poems, a biography, or the human rights issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, (including—but not limited to—the Global War on Terror, extra-legal detention, extraordinary rendition, and Islamophobia).

All submissions should be emailed to as a Word document or PDF. Please include the name of the specific poem(s) you responded to and a one to three sentence biography. Submissions should be no longer than 500 words. All submissions will be subjected to an editorial process (you will get to review your work before it’s published).


Submissions should be sent to by March 7, 2016. Please do not email the Poetry Center of Chicago with your submissions. 

Interested writers should consider contacting project organizer Aaron Hughes at as soon as possible to discuss what poem(s) they plan to respond to in order to help us ensure that multiple writers do not respond to the same works.

If you have any questions or need help accessing a copy of Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak please contact project organizer Aaron Hughes at



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.