Isele Magazine

The Best of New Literature and Art

The Isele Poetry Prize

Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike Wins the Isele Poetry Prize for “there’s more” 

Umezurike’s poem travels around the world, gathering stories about people who search for new beginnings despite the dangers that lurk in the deserts and in the seas, dangers that nip dreams at the bud, but which our seekers must brave for their sanity, for a moment away from the despair they leave behind. Umezurike’s poem is timeless, and we are so lucky he trusted us with his work.

Read “there’s more.

Announcing the Shortlist

Two Poems” by Romeo Oriogun

Romeo Oriogun is the author of Sacrament of Bodies, a finalist for the Lambda Award for Poetry. He has received fellowships and support from Ebedi International Writers Residency, Harvard University, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Oregon Institute for Creative Research, and the IIE- Artist Protection Fund. Winner of the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and an alumnus of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently lives in Ames where he is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State University.

Four Poems” by Joanna George

Joanna George (She/Her) is a poet and research student at Pondicherry University, India. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Epoch Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Honey Literary, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, West Trestle Review, and others. She tweets at j_leaseofhope.

there’s more” and “Two Poems” by Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike

Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Alberta, Canada. An alumnus of the International Writing Program (USA), Umezurike is the author of Wish Maker (Masobe Books, 2021), Double Wahala, Double Trouble (Griots Lounge Publishing, 2021), and a co-editor of Wreaths for Wayfarers, an anthology of poems (Daraja Press, 2020). His poems and short fiction have been widely anthologized online and in print magazines, and he has interviewed dozens of writers for Read Alberta, Prism International, Brittle Paper, and Africa in Words.

Three Poems” by Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon’s newest book is Dialogues with Rising Tides from Copper Canyon Press. She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State on traditional lands of the Chimacum, Coast Salish, S’Klallam, and Suquamish people where she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. She teaches at Pacific Lutheran University’s low-res MFA program, the Rainier Writing Workshop. Kelli is currently part of a project between local land trusts and artists to help raise awareness for the preservation of land, ecosystems, and biodiversity called Writing the Land. /

Three Poems” by Chisom Okafor

Chisom Okafor, Nigerian poet and clinical nutritionist, lives and writes in Lagos. He divides his time between the diet clinic of a military hospital and its college of nursing, where he teaches clinical nutrition, diet therapy and hospital practice. His poems appear in Prairie Schooner, adda (Commonwealth Writers), Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Hotazel Review, SAND, Thrush Poetry Journal and elsewhere.He has received nominations for the Gerald Kraak Prize, Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, and a Pushcart Prize. He has also previously co-edited the 20.35 Africa Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and the Libretto Chapbook Series. He tweets @chisomokafor16.

Announcing the Longlist

We are delighted to announce the longlist for the inaugural edition of The Isele Poetry Prize.

Narrowing down the poems was challenging because the works that we publish at Isele Magazine are brilliant, defiant, and poignantly explore themes that challenge conventional expectations. Publishing them was such a joy. These exceptional poets remind us of the transformative power of stories and the beauty of language.

The works that appear in this longlist encapsulate our mission: to provide a platform for writers who hold a mirror to our society.

On that note, see the longlist in no particular order:

The Isele Poetry Prize

Two Poems” by Romeo Oriogun

Five Poems” by Adeyele Adeniran

Four Poems” by Joanna George

Balls of Mess” by Muyera Sokoo

The One Good Eyes of the Room” by Susan Rich

there’s more” and “Two Poems” by Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike

Six Poems” by Sarah Rebecca Kersley

Six Poems” by Francine Simon

Three Poems” by Kelli Russell Agodon

Three Poems” by Chisom Okafor

About the Prize

The prize is for a suite of poems or single poems published in Isele Magazine in the past year. 

The judges will publish the longlist of ten suites of poems or single poems in February, and a shortlist of five in March. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at the end of April.

Important Dates

  • Longlist Announced: February 21, 2022

  • Shortlist Announced: March 21, 2022

  • Winner Announced: April 26, 2022


We will occasionally update this page with the most recent news about the prize, including the longlist, the shortlist, the winner, the interviews with our writers, and details about the award ceremony.

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