[CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS] The Auditory Cortex Special Feature (2021-2023)

Visit Auditory Cortex 2021-2023
to read and listen to the selected poems
as well as read the poets’ reflections.

We are currently accepting submissions for the Auditory Cortex 2021-2023 special feature devoted entirely to Asian voices. Selected poems are published on a rolling basis on Cha: An Asian Literary Journal‘s main website, active for the first time since June/July 2019. The feature intends to celebrate the varied voices across Englishes. We welcome submissions from poets who write in a ‘variety’ of Englishes.

Each poet can submit up to TWO poems on any theme (no more than 40 lines long each, to be accompanied by a recording of the author’s reading in WAV format). Poems must be previously unpublished. Please read the guidelines below very carefully.

NOTE: Poems must be written and read in the author’s local variety of English (e.g. Brunei English, Burmese English, Chinese English, Fijian English, Filipino English, Guamanian English, Hawaiian English, Hong Kong English, Japanese English, Kazakh English, Malaysian English, Samoan English, Singapore English, Sri Lankan English, Thai English, Tok Pisin, Tongan English, Vietnamese English, etc.) in a way that is also accessible to other speakers of English in Asia.




In the April 2018 issue of Cha, we ran the first Auditory Cortex competition, co-judged by Lian-Hee Wee and Cha‘s editor Tammy Lai-Ming Ho. Lian-Hee described the competition: ‘We received more than 230 entries, some from as far as the Americas and Europe, reached by diasporic lives that are a part of so much of Asian, and certainly of all human, history. The varied lives and scopes of the poets presented an amazing landscape that strengthens our convictions for the value of the physical acoustic manifestation of the poet’s inner voice.’ [Click HERE to read the rest of Lian-Hee’s article.] In the June/July 2019 issue of the journal, we published, for the first time, the Auditory Cortex special feature, co-edited by Lian-Hee and Tammy. We hope to publish an Auditory Cortex special feature in Cha yearly or biannually.




Professor of Linguistics and Cha contributor Lian-Hee Wee on “Auditory Cortex”: ‘The Auditory Cortex is the first point in the brain that processes sound information, and channels it to other parts of the brain depending how it interprets the sounds. Sounds interpreted as linguistic would trigger some areas whereas sounds interpreted as musical might trigger others. Naturally, this is also where poems are first processed.’


Poet and Cha contributor Alvin Pang on “Auditory Cortex”: ‘[T]he point […] is to celebrate varieties of Englishes in Asia that have often been downplayed, dismissed, denigrated, discriminated against or otherwise neglected in the anglophone world (the official distaste towards Singlish in Singapore is a good example). It would, in that sense, be less useful to highlight varieties of English that are already well acknowledged in the global anglophone mainstream. […] If we’re talking about new inflections of established variants, these would indeed be interesting and relevant to document.’



  • Submissions of no more than TWO previously unpublished poems (each no more than 40 lines) should be sent to t@asiancha.com with the subject line “Auditory Cortex”.
  • Poems must be sent in the body of the email with the recording in a WAV file attachment using the author’s family name as the filename (i.e. LASTNAME.wav, e.g. Ho.wav or Wee.wav).
  • The recording should contain only the author’s voice (NO sound effects or music) and should be made in a sound attended room or a venue of adequate quiet to ensure audibility.
  • Please include a biography (no more than 200 words) and a paragraph outlining your language background (no more than 200 words).
  • If a poem is accepted for publication, we will ask the poet to send us a reflection on the work.
  • Accepted poems, essays by the poets, and the audio recordings are published on Cha: An Asian Literary Journal on a rolling basis. Please note that we will only be contacting poets whose work is accepted for publication.
  • Closing date: ongoing until further notice

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