Explore the provocation for
our next issue …

We will accept submissions 1–31 July 2018.

Each issue of Not Very Quiet begins with quote and/or image as a prompt, a provocation, a reminder note, a tease, a dissonance, for your writing. Use all of it as a theme, an idea, a concept, a dilemma, a contradiction; or use part of it, or just one word.

For Issue 3, guest editor Lisa Brockwell has selected the following:

Artist Grace Cossington Smith

Grace Cossington Smith Interior with wardrobe mirror 1955. Oil on canvas on paperboard 91.4 x 73.7 cm board; 103 x 85 x 5.6 cm frame. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchased 1967 © Estate of Grace Cossington Smith. Photo: AGNSW.

My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not flat crude colour, it must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it, it is no good having heavy, dead colour … the whole room seemed to be full of light, which is what I want to do more than the actual sunlight. I feel that even the shadows are subdued light and they must have light in them …

Grace Cossington Smith, 1965

Poet Fay Zwicky

Poetry has always seemed to me a source of hope, a means of speaking against any orthodoxy, be it religious, political, or social.  It has offered a place for the dissenting imagination that hankers to encompass not only the truth of what is, what has been, but what might be or what might have been.

Fragmented memories and isolated images randomly recalled are of no significance in themselves ­– only the poet’s search for meaning within a recognisable context can be of interest.  And for this, the poet needs muscles, emotional, spiritual and psychic muscles that transcend the limits of the self.  And muscles take time to develop, longer for some than for others.

Fay Zwicky, ‘Border Crossings’, 2000.
Taken from her Collected Poems, UWAP, 2017.

In selecting ‘stimulus’ for this third issue of Not Very Quiet (which I am delighted to be joining as guest-editor), I am mindful of the fact that the first two issues of the magazine have attracted submissions from all over the world.

Despite, or perhaps because of this fact, I would like this stimulus to reflect an Australian sensibility, and a very particular one too.  I want to highlight the work of two Australian artists of the twentieth century (predominantly): the poet Fay Zwicky and the painter Grace Cossington Smith. Two artists engaged in the investigation of questions of individuation and belonging, spirit and intellect, light and dark, ideas of being ‘outside’ or ‘inside’ and all these terms might imply; the weight of tradition and the liberating possibilities of the imagination – explored from the very particular vantage point of urban and suburban Australia in the long shadow cast by the second world war.

So I will be looking for poems that are surprising, singular and honour the ‘dissenting imagination’ that Fay Zwicky valued so highly.  One of the great gifts a poem can bring, (and I would argue that women may be more familiar with this, perhaps a strategy forged by circumstance), is the gift of being able to ‘tell all the truth but tell it slant’. Holding up a specific and subjective mirror reflecting and refracting both the interior and exterior of the world – our inner lives as well as the physical and social world we navigate.

We very much look forward to reading your poems.

Lisa Brockwell, Guest Editor

Submission guidelines and policies

Key dates

Dates and times for Not Very Quiet are in the Australian eastern time zone (Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne).

Spring issue 3

  • issue provocation available from 30 April 2018
  • submissions open 1–31 July 2018
  • publication mid-September 2018

Autumn issue 4

  • provocation available from November 2018
  • submission open 1–31 January 2019
  • publication March 2019

What we’re looking for

We seek to publish in the intersection of women and poetry. We are looking for writing that is questioning and exploratory – social commentary, exploration of places and people, the relation of these to the poets.

Just as the content of or provocation for writing may be fluid and responsive, so the form can be flexible even useful. Poets write and experiment with many different poetic forms; so, Not Very Quiet will accept a wide variety of forms.

Our first rule is that the words and the white space on the page convey meaning and emphasis. We are looking for poetry that communicates. We do not want poetry that is obfuscative or impenetrable.


What forms of poetry do we accept for Not Very Quiet? We are open to all forms including:

  • Page poetry (including that which plays with space and line)
  • Found poetry
  • Ekphrastic (responsive to other art forms)
  • Prose poetry
  • Landay
  • Tanka and other short form poetry including senryu, kyoka, haiku
  • Haibun and tanka prose
  • Lyric
  • Formal rhymed forms
  • Song lyrics
  • Performance poetry
  • Speculative poetry
  • Free verse

If you are writing in response to an art work you must fully acknowledge the piece and the artist.

If you are creating from ‘found poetry’ which may include text from a variety of sources such as: washing machine instructions, newspaper articles, advertising, etc then you must fully acknowledge the source. You must have acquired all permissions, where relevant, to that sentence.

If your found text is a poem then the correct term for this is a ‘cento’ you must fully acknowledge the source (poet, poem, lines, publication details).


Your poems should be shorter than you first thought. They should be finely edited so every excess word, phrase, stanza is deleted. Shorter is better.

  • We will accept work from a haiku to a prose poem.
  • Poems should be max 32 lines at 1.5 spacing.
  • We can accommodate a line length of 84 characters (including spaces).  Longer lines will wrap automatically.
  • Prose poems should be max 250–300 words.

Send one to three pieces for us to read in each submission period. No more please.

Note: although we have a strong preference for the length indicated above, we reserve the right to select longer pieces on occasion.


English – we accept poetry in all Englishes and will keep US, UK and Australian spellings as submitted by the poet.

Legal stuff

Originality and copyright

In submitting to Not Very Quiet you are guaranteeing that your submitted work is original, unpublished (anywhere, anytime, anyhow) and not under consideration elsewhere.


We will notify authors of acceptance of their work(s) for publication within a few weeks of the closing date and request that authors reply with a formal agreement to our terms and conditions.

The editors’ selection is final. NVQ does not provide authors with feedback or critical review.

You will be asked to agree to NVQ’s terms and conditions via Submittable.

Terms and conditions of publication

Not Very Quiet seeks online publication rights in perpetuity. We request that authors acknowledge Not Very Quiet in any subsequent publications (e.g. First published in Not Very Quiet, Month Year,


We can’t pay for poems we accept at the moment but we hope that this may change.


We cannot accept poetry from poets under 18 years old.

Your biographical statement

Submissions should include a short biographical statement (approximately 50 words).

Reference style in bio

If your Bio includes references to your previous publications please use the following styles.

  • For a collection: Collection Title (Publisher Name year). For example, Who Sleeps at Night? (Ginninderra Press 2017).
  • For a single poem in a book or journal: ‘Poem title’, Book or Journal Title (Publisher Name year). For example, ‘Leavetaking’, Black Tulips (Recent Work Press 2017).

Note that we may make minor copy edits to the bio notes.

Page proofs

We provide online page proofs to authors about a week before the scheduled publication date.

But please proof submissions carefully.


We will make every effort to maintain the formatting you indicate in your submission, including:

  • caps (or lack thereof) in the title and/or text
  • indented paragraphs
  • centred paragraphs or right-aligned paragraphs
  • italics and bold

BUT, we are limited by the styles available through the website software. We cannot create extra space within lines or unusual white space between lines. We do not have the same level of control that print on paper affords.

Special characters
  • Most special characters can be reproduced in the text of a poem.
  • Special cannot be reproduced in the title field.

Submitting your poem/s via Submittable

We use Submittable, an online submission portal used by publishers worldwide.

Our Submittable account is only active during the months when we are seeking submissions and preparing the forthcoming issue. Normally this will be January–February for our March issue and July–August for our September issue. To save money, we de-activate Submittable during the other months.

Go to our Submittable page

New to Submittable?

If you haven’t used Submittable before, it’s a professional online tool used by publishers to manage the submission and review process. It is safe for your poetry and asks you for very little personal information – just your name and email address to set up an account.

Once you have a Submittable account (free to authors) you can use your account to submit to our journal and a wide range of others.


If you have a disability and are unable to use Submittable, we will accept submissions via the email Your submission will be uploaded to Submittable by our website manager for blind review.