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Not Very Quiet (NVQ) launched their anthology Thursday evening, edited by the journal’s founders Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew, and published by Recent Work Press.

Poems were selected from eight issues of the twice-yearly online journal and I was thrilled to have one of mine included, thrilled even more when asked to read it at the launch. This is a powerful collection of women’s poetry from across the world, giving voice to pertinent issues – same-sex marriage, the #MeToo movement, the global pandemic and devastating bush fires to name a few – and sharing fascinating insights into what it means to be human.

Past guest editors – Anita Patel, Tricia Dearborn, Lisa Brockwell, Anne Casey, K A Nelson – also read their work, aswell as Moya and Sandra. Each issue of the journal invited submissions to respond to a provocation. My poem appeared in the first issue, which called for reflections on Gloria Steinem’s Women’s March Speech, reprinted below:

The camel and the straw

When there’s nothing left to say you eat
knock back the red wine you ordered
begin the cigars I hate.

My mouth is full with all that you said
and I’m too damned polite to do the napkin thing
spit out the one line I can’t swallow.

So I smile
no teeth
while inside I pack up and leave you.

(First published in Not Very Quiet; Issue 1, September 2017)

The anthology celebrates the end of NVQ’s publication, leaving the space open for others to continue to address gender bias in poetry publishing because in the words of Gloria Steinem, “women must act.”

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