Jonathan Humble, Features Writer

The Dirigible Balloon: Preparing to Launch a New Webzine for Children’s Poetry

Dirigible Balloon: the name used to describe the newly invented airships in the 18th century. From ideas originating in China, the development of hot-air balloons was carried out by French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier. On October 15th 1783 Jean-Francois Pilâtre de Rozier made the first tethered flight, November 21st Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes made the first free ascent and by January 19th 1784, a balloon carried several passengers to a height of 3000 feet over the city of Lyons.

Well, for those of you who have been following events on my blog concerning the possibility of a new poetry venture, I must inform you that I have found a talented crew to fly off into exciting times with the launch of a new online site for children’s poetry.

Dirigible Balloon is a webzine featuring poetry written for children by both new and established poets. With brilliant technical support from the Yorkshire Times, who have provided the platform and expertise for the project, free from the sort of cookie clutter and advertisements that would have affected reading enjoyment, our aim is to publish a fresh batch of poems every month with the inaugural flight taking place on August 1st 2021.

We want to showcase the best poetry that writers for children have to offer. Unlike poetry written for adult audiences, there are limited opportunities for these poets to get their work seen, especially by kids in schools, youth groups or indeed appreciated by the writing community as a whole. Writers of poems for adults have a range of possibilities available to them, whereas poetry for children is not represented as widely. Here at Dirigible Balloon, we want to help address that imbalance.

With this is mind, we want poems that take our young readers on a journey, lifting their thoughts, feelings and aspirations as though they were on an exciting flight, expanding their horizons and having lots of fun in the process.

At this stage, we will only be publishing online. Dirigible Balloon has no commercial aspect (no charges, advertising, promotions or cookies). The webzine is edited on a voluntary and unpaid basis. Unfortunately, we cannot offer writers and artists any payment should their work be selected for publication. The copyright remains with the writers and artists whose submitted work has been selected, on the understanding that if their work is chosen for publication, the author or artist grants Dirigible Balloon permission to publish and archive their work in an online format.

For poets who would like to contribute, here are The Dirigible Balloon Poetry Submission Guidelines:

* Send up to 3 poems via email to

* Please send all poems in one word document attachment.

* Please write ‘Poetry Submission (Your Name)’ in the subject line of the e-mail.

* Poems should be the author’s own work (nothing borrowed from other writers please … plagiarised work will not be used). We prefer previously unpublished poetry (although poems from personal online blogs are OK) and be no longer than 40 lines.

* Simultaneous submissions are fine, just let us know as soon as possible if the work has been accepted elsewhere and if you’d like it withdrawn.

* Send a short author biography of between 50 to 80 words in the body of the e-mail with your submission.

* A short cover letter accompanying the submission would be much appreciated in the body of the e-mail.

* If any poem we publish goes on to be published elsewhere then we will be delighted for you and thrilled if you would give Dirigible Balloon a mention.

* The editor’s decision with regards to what appears in the webzine is final. We will do our very best to give a personal and timely response to each submission. Sometimes a poem will not suit our style of webzine. This might not be a reflection on the quality of the poem, but rather just the opinion of one person and the poem could be viewed favourably by someone else (no offence will have been meant by any rejection). Apologies, but further correspondence in the event of an unsuccessful submission will not be entered into by the editor of Dirigible Balloon

* Successful placement of a poem in The Dirigible Balloon will not exclude the poet from submitting further work in subsequent months.

The editor at Dirigible Balloon reserves the right to update and amend these guidelines should the need arise.

Right … time to cut a few sandwiches, make a flask of tea as well as find my flying helmet and goggles for the flight.

Jonathan Humble
Editor at The Dirigible Balloon