Submissions: open 12 July 2022. They close at 11:59pm 12 August 2022.

Australian Poetry Journal 11.2 ‘ambition, disobedience’ is now available. You can purchase a copy here.

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Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a queer non-binary poet, writer and educator who lives in Boorloo, Western Australia. SPM’s work appears in Contemporary Australian Poetry, The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, Solid Air, Stories of Perth and Going Postal. Their first collection, Clean (Upswell, 2022), is an exploration of their lived experience as a methamphetamine addict and details their recovery and reconnection to family, identity and ecology. SPM is currently working on their second collection, which explores LGTBIQA+ identity in regards to nightlife, protest and suburbia and how queer identity exists within the archive. Mitchell is also the current recipient of the 2022 Red Room Poetry Fellowship with a project that explores Perth Canyon and West Australian beaches and beach culture. SPM lives and writes on the unceded Land of The Whadjuk Noongar Nation.

Esther Ottaway is an award-winning and widely published Australian poet who was shortlisted in the Montreal International and Bridport Poetry Prizes in 2020. Her work appears in Australian and overseas journals including Rattle, Meanjin, Heat, and The Australian and Canberra Times newspapers, and is widely anthologised, notably in Thirty Australian Poets (UQP). Esther has written commissioned performance poetry works for the Festival of Voices and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Her first book, Blood Universe: poems on pregnancy, is recognised as an important exploration of women’s experience, and Intimate, Low-voiced, Delicate Things (Puncher & Wattmann) explores family and its origins, parenthood, love and the loss of love. Esther is writing her third collection, about the experiences of women and girls on the autism spectrum, with the working title She Doesn’t Seem Autistic. If you expect her to be like an autistic man, she doesn’t seem autistic.

Published with the support of Australia Council for the Arts Projects Grant 2022-2023 and Creative Victoria multi-year funding. The volume will also include other articles.

A Note from the Guest Editors, Scott-Patrick Mitchell and Esther Ottaway:

Decades of advocating for an autistic daughter have brought Esther to the recognition of an autistic identity. Esther’s reality is different and difficult, and medical systems continue to treat her as such. Her new poems explore the experiences of women and girls on the autism spectrum in a system that largely assumes they don’t exist. Disabled people and women have been considered divergent and irrelevant for centuries, and are still considered so. Caroline Criado-Perez, in her book, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, documents how typical it is that women’s bodies and experiences are treated as divergent, therefore irrelevant, in contemporary medical research, government policy, workplaces, and product design. To be divergent, or seen as divergent, is enough; to be sidelined because of it messes with your head.


For Scott-Patrick Mitchell, their interest in “divergence, relevance” is how it applies to notions of community and archival poetics.  In particular, SPM is interested in the ways we find ourselves within archives, or find narrative points that open out into an exploration of other within the context of the queer archive. How do we view archival material when our own identity is largely absent or underrepresented in such spaces? What moments of otherness do we embrace, accentuate and celebrate as a way to write our absence into being? How do we acknowledge the uniqueness of the ephemeral when it defies cataloguing? To quote Simone de Beauvoir, SPM is looking for poetry that fixes “this passionate assertion of existence in a more durable way”.


All of this adds urgency, imperativeness, to our voices as poets. It is for the poets to point up assumptions and injustices, to illuminate a breadth of experiences and realities. We seek exposés of systematic sidelining, manifestos on the relevance of divergence. We seek your uniqueness, your divergent health, your divergent realities, intimate moments from what it is like to be you. We seek to know about the wearying ways in which you are cast as strange, exceptional, and a problem, and are rendered irrelevant and unheard. And we seek your triumphs, your in-spite-ofs, your ringing self-talk in the face of dismissal, and the stories of your precious champions and advocates. We seek new or subverted forms which are, like Kerri Shying’s Elevensies form, created to support a divergent way of thinking and of telling. Above all, we seek fine writing, so if your work relates to our theme in another way, please send it.

Submissions: Open 12 July 2022 and close 11:59pm 12 August 2022.

Email your submission to:


Formal Guidelines

  • Submissions sent outside the set reading dates will not be read or considered.
  • Poets, both Australian-born or international, are invited to submit, in one email, up to three poems. Requirements for consideration are: each poem must be sent in both doc and pdf formats. A bio must be included. We suggest you alert the guest editors to how your identity relates to the theme, in the email body, if you wish to. The pdf versions are used for proofing purposes. Only three poems will be considered by any one poet so please do not submit more. The word.doc bio would be up to 50 words and includes your contact (phone, postal address, email) details.
  • Also please specify, for our statistical purposes, if you are a subscriber to Australian Poetry. Poems are chosen by the editor/s on merit and there is no advantage given to subscribers. Subscription however is strongly encouraged as it makes our publications viable and vital. If you are not yet a subscriber, please subscribe here.
  • We are committed to prompt turnaround on the reading of poems. All poets who submit within the guideline submission dates will be contacted in late August/early September.
  • Published poems will be paid at $80 flat rate per poem (new ASA base rate).
  • APJ in 2017 introduced a submissions policy with its new guest editor model, where the guest editor/s can organise submission for a number of poets directly each volume.
  • All poems submitted must have been previously unpublished in print and not currently submitted elsewhere.
  • APJ requires that the use of any other work by another author in a submitted poem is clearly acknowledged and cited. The responsibility for this remains with the poet.