Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

a basket of writing from author Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Calling all poets and writers of the Pacific: submit your work!

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So I’m honored to announce that I’ve been asked to be a guest editor for a special issue of blackmail press – a highly reputable quarterly online poetry journal of the Pacific. You can check out their website to read their past issues here:


blackmail press has published the work of Pacific giants like Albert Wendt, Karlo Mila, Tusiata Avia, and Selina Tusitala Marsh amongst others. They’ve also published a lot of new up-and-coming artists as well. For this issue, the online editor Doug Poole, another amazing Pacific writer, decided to reach out to the Center for the Pacific Island Studies to do a special issue, and to collaborate with CPIS’s Katherine Higgins, Outreach Director. Katherine was thoughtful (or crazy) enough to ask me to me if I’d be interested in taking on the role of guest editor – she felt a CPIS student might benefit from the experience. I’ve been itching to get some editor experience for a minute now, so I took it on.

One of my first tasks as guest editor was to come up with a theme for this issue. I had to really think about this for a while, because I’ve had no previous experience doing that sort of thing. But after a while I decided on the broad but basic topic of FOOD (not a far stretch for someone who was 8 months pregnant at the time – I was always thinking about food, if not the impending birth itself). I presented the concept of food using the metaphor of the banninur – the Marshallese word for a basket woven from coconut leaves that Marshallese generally use to offer various types of food. The usual banninur might have freshly cooked chicken, fried fish, salt fish, a few young coconut for drinking, bwiro ( a type of preserved breadfruit or pandanus fruit), breadfruit, etc. So for this issue of blackmail press, we’re asking writers to offer up a banninur of poetry and writing all around the topic of food – memories of food, politics of food, all that good stuff.

Submissions are due by May 1, and can be sent to blackmailprss36@gmail.com. For more information, check out the flier below, and please share and submit with anyone who might be interested:

blackmail press

Author: Kathy

Kathy Jetnil Kijiner is a Marshallese poet and activist. Her writing highlights the traumas of colonialism, racism, forced migration, the legacy of American nuclear testing, and the impending threats of climate change. Bearing witness at the front lines of various activist movements inspires her work and has propelled her poetry onto international stages. She has performed her poetry in front of audiences ranging from elementary school students to most recently over a hundred world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit, where she performed a poem to her daughter, "Dear Matafele Peinam". Currently she lives and works in the Marshall Islands, where she teaches Pacific studies courses full time at the College of the Marshall Islands. She is also Co-Director of the youth environmentalist non-profit Jo-Jikum, which empowers youth by educating them on the importance of environmentalism and mobilizing them to work toward solutions for environmentalist issues. Check out their website: www.jojikum.org

One thought on “Calling all poets and writers of the Pacific: submit your work!

  1. Happy to have found your blog, sad I missed this though.

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