Submissions guidelines

Winter Grass by Donald E. Camp


What we are looking to publish will no doubt change, perhaps many times. At present we can say that we are trying to establish our presence as a regional Bahá’í community with its own artistic voice. Thus we are open primarily to contributions from Bahá’ís, and friends of the Faith, resident now or formerly in the Delaware Valley region. That said, we try to be inclusive. We draw no distinction between professional artist and amateur. We adhere to no particular school or style but strive to share in everyone’s contribution. We look for submissions that evidence care in composition and respect for the language. Some very limited materials in Spanish and Persian may also find a home at Tokens. We seek contributions that reflect some aspect of a spiritual journey in an authentic voice, but the subject need not be explicitly Bahá’í or even religious in nature. However, submitters should keep in mind that the magazine is sponsored by the local Spiritual Assembly and is primarily disseminated to a religious community. To get some idea of what we are after it will be helpful to look at a recent copy of Tokens in the Library on the second floor of the Philadelphia Bahá’í Center, or a few of the extracts published on line.


For written materials such as poems, we are helped if each item is submitted by email as a separate attachment in Word or similar format readable by Word. Please do NOT send PDFs or include your poem within the body of an email. It is helpful if no more than three such documents are attached to an email. Written materials are preferably short. We do not have space to publish long form compositions. Bearing in mind that our pages are 5 ½ x 8 ½ inches a short poem will run up to 32 lines. Lines longer than 55 characters will have to be split. No poem should run more than 64 lines; poems at 32 lines or less will obviously stand a better chance of being selected so as to allow more voices to be heard. You should use a simple typeface except where something else is required for your particular expressive purpose. Tokens usually publishes text in twelve-point Cambria. Be sure the author’s name and contact information is on each submission. If you have used a lot of formatting in your poem you can submit the text as an unformatted Word doc along with a PDF to show how you would like it ideally to appear. We prefer no formatting.


We have published photographs and sketches as well as page decorations of various sorts and a musical score. You should expect that we will edit these for size. Submissions should be in the form of a JPEG or TIFF document – as large as feasible, it can always be reduced – attached to your email.



For all submissions we will need to have a title, a year of composition if you like, and a clear statement whether the work has been published before or not. If it has, we will need to have a written clearance from the original publisher. If the author retains the copyright this clearance may be in the form of a simple email statement from the publisher. For visual works you should submit a few words describing the media or method of composition. While each issue of Tokens is copyrighted by the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Philadelphia, all rights to the items published, including the original copyright, are expressly reserved to the individual contributing authors and artists.


We seek to have Tokens remain a publication within the reach of any member of our community and one that supports itself by their voluntary financial contributions. Contributors of materials that are accepted for publication will receive one copy of Tokens.

Tokens is printed on archival acid-free and lignin-free paper using stainless steel staples for long life. Copies are filed permanently with the National Bahá’í Archives library and in the Philadelphia Bahá’í Community library.


Submissions may be sent by email to Materials submitted by mail should be addressed to

Editor, Tokens Magazine

2462 Bryn Mawr Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19131


Tokens is edited by James Tichenor. The magazine’s website is

Hints to what we look for in poetry

  • Originality and work representative of varied social milieus
  • Spiritual insight, with particular relevance to the Bahá’í experience if possible
  • Eloquence and richness of expression
  • Respect for our common literary heritage
  • Care in the use of language
  • Beauty when appropriate, clarity at all times