Sunday, June 17, 2018


Canberra Times poetry submissions are now open. You have until June 30 to submit up to three poems. Please see the guidelines for full information and email address. Please DO read the guidelines. Please do NOT send submissions via this blog.

The quarterly deadlines come around quickly don't they :) Looking forward to being again inundated.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Other Terrain Journal Issue 5 online now


‘How could you do this to us?’ tells of the resolve needed to access Manus Island’s mothers and babies, Christine Hill’s attempt to bring the joy of play, the way undetermined detention time seeps all hope out of the mothers, how this becomes so sadly reflected in the wellbeing and behaviour of the infants. A birth in detention, by the way, is officially described as an ‘incident’ and the baby is given a number.

This moving, prize-winning essay by Christine Hill is published in issue 5 of Other Terrain Journal just released by Swinburne University.

In ‘Making a Stand’ fantasy writer, Isobel Carmody, describes how her initial involvement with a protest outside Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Hospital to prevent baby Asha being sent to off shore detention, lead to an empowering and inspiring, daily solo protest against off shore detention in general, wherever she might be. She becomes more confident, more informed, more determined. She thinks all the while about refugees and leaves us believing we should do the same.

There are not only essays, but also creative non-fiction, reviews, images and poems. Michelle Cahill’s Exile is lush in its use of nature as metaphor for displacement; Eileen Chong’s Black Sun instills the fear of being left behind; Jordan King-Lacroix’s Politics questions our silencings; Lorne Johnson’s Only some things is powerfully succinct; S. Nagaveeran’s (Ravi) I was on the boat, now I am on the road is raw and personal.

My own contribution is a found poem titled Asylum and the ekphrastic sequence of micro poems Syria’s Children. Extra thanks to the editors for including the full sequence of Syria’s Children as I've only had excerpts published previously. I’m incredibly pleased to be selected for publication in this insightful migration issue of Other Terrain.

More migration poems and essays at Swinburne's Backstory history journal. I'm heading there shortly — and yes — delighted to have poems published there too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Here's a nice thing — The Irish Times made a poster featuring Irish women writers available (download here) to mark this year's International Women's Day. Yes I'm a bit behind the times (no pun intended). It's 'an antidote to the all-male Irish Writers poster of bars and student bedrooms' writes Martin Doyle, in his article 'Portraits of the artists as women' on March 7. That poster was published a long time ago — apparently the use of hanging hyphens proves it (I enjoyed that detail). I might still have one curled up in a corner somewhere myself (a poster not a hanging hyphen). I did at the time bemoan the absent women. 

Then, because it seemed a might belated The Irish Times also invited a bunch of writers, critics and academics to nominate their favourite Irish woman writer and to write a short essay of up to 180 words about her. You'll find a 'gallery' of around 60 of these in the book pages of — yes — clickety click here

We could borrow from this idea ...


Friday, April 20, 2018


Another April deadline! Grist journal's ProForma Literary Contest:

Every spring, Grist welcomes submissions of unpublished creative work for our ProForma contest in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and/or hybrids that explore the relationship between content and form. Our contest is open to all forms of literary expression.

“Pro forma” often means an established way of doing things. For the contest, we look for work that makes the most of its form, whether that’s an essay that breaks from traditional expectations, a set of poems from a sonnet sequence, a short story that blends or bends its genre, a hybrid text or a genre-less piece. However you define the relationship with form in your writing, we want to see your best work.

Fees waived if you subscribe. Prize is $1200 (US) and publication in Grist

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Some poetry competition and submission deadlines. Move quickly — April is disappearing!
Poets Meet Politics 2018 International Open Poetry Competition closes Saturday April 28. Any theme related to politics. First prize: €500; second prize: one week’s accommodation in the Creativity Cabin in Cork, Ireland; third prize: €100. Details here.

The Poetry International Prize deadline is extended to April 30. Prize $1000 US and publication in the Poetry International journal. Details here.

The Sutherland Shire Literary Competition closes April 30. Three categories: Traditional verse, Free verse, Short stories. First prize in each is $1000. Second and third prizes too. Details here.

Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics asks: … can poetry still harness the power of collective belief? Vol 5 #2 (released August), guest edited by Bonny Cassidy, closes April 30. Theme: ‘Make it so.’ Visit Plumwood — even the submission guidelines are a great read.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Stop Press: The next Canberra Times submissions window is March 15-30. Submissions are now quarterly (subject to change) so it's just a small intake of poems each time. I'm especially interested in receiving work from more Indigenous poets this round. 

Send up to three UNpublished poems to canberra[dot]times[dot]poetry[at]gmail[dot]com but ...

Slow down: First, please do read the latest guidelines which you'll find here

Thanks for passing the word on.

Lizz (in my Canberra Times Poetry Editor hat)

Monday, January 01, 2018


I visited the current Ink, Sweat & Tears issue thanks to a celebratory Facebook post from Ali Whitelock telling us her poem the cumquats of Christmas past is published in their 12 Days of Christmas 2017 feature. I’m glad I did. Ali’s writing is dense with imagery and emotion. For more of her evocative poems dander over to Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet living in Sydney and someone to follow. Back at Ink, Sweat & Tears and I was also impressed by UK poets Jane Burn and Nicola Slee, published on the same day of Christmas.

The journal has a number of categories including Reviews, News, What Makes Writers Tick, Haibun, Haiku and Haiga, and Words & Images. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist the latter. Here I was taken with Kevin Reid’s Victorian Sisters — compelling, broken, tender.

Check out the IS&T anthologies and pamphlets while you're there. If you’re a writer you may be interested in the next submissions deadline which is February 1. Add it to your 2018 list of potential publication opportunities — I know you'll be on that job very soon. Happy New Year by the way.

Saturday, December 02, 2017


The latest Canberra Times poetry submissions call has just closed. Due to the high volume of submissions, only poems received during the submission period of November 15-30 will be read. Sorry to disappoint those who sent poems before the fifteenth (even during October), but submissions will be quarterly next year so you won’t have to wait too long for another opportunity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


Just stumbled on The Prose-Poem Project edited by Ellen Clay. It's an international journal of — as you might guess — prose poetry. One of the most heart-wrenching poems I've ever read is Anthony Warnke's poem April 27, 9:23. The bad news is that the journal is on hold until further notice. Visit while you can still access it.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Poems polished and filed? The next poetry submission call for The Canberra Times is November 15-30. Basically it's a matter of sending up to three unpublished poems, maximum 28 lines, to canberra[dot]times[dot]poetry[at]gmail[dot]com preferably in one attachment — but please read the full updated information/guidelines available here. I look forward to receiving your poems.

Lizz Murphy
The Canberra Times Poetry Editor


Monday, October 09, 2017


Ben Drysdale, Adele Chynoweth, Sophie Pieloor

Under Sedation:Canberra Verse Remixed was a repast of poetry, song, drama and emotion. Lighting and sound effects helped create intriguing what’s-happening-next/whose-piece-next moments. The notion to bring poetry to the stage in a live anthology performance is the brainwave of Director, Adele Chynoweth.

Actors Ben Drysdale and Ruth Pieloor played out each piece dramatically but subtly, humorously but graciously, and with irony, grit and emotion yet often still with an appreciated naturalness. They are superb. Over forty Canberra Region authors are represented, from AD Hope (Under Sedation), Dorothy Auchterlonie (Green) and Kevin Gilbert, to Michael Byrne, Adrian Ceasar, Omar Musa, Victoria McGrath, Geoff Page, Sarah Rice, Sandra Renew, Melinda Smith and myself ($600). Full list here.

‘Poets have a very unique view and should be brought to the stage, and the everyday, and the *insurance companies ...’ Adele Chynoweth told us at her talk on Sunday. Her research was painstaking — she read hundreds of works. Adele was interested in what poets might have to say about civilization; what alternatives they were offering other than sedating ourselves.

Shenanigans with actors and poets: Lizz Murphy (left), Victoria McGrath, Ruth Pieloor, Jan Pieloor, Ben Drysdale, Anon (with apologies), PS Cottier (floored).

Experiencing poetry other than on the page can be a challenge for some of us. I thoroughly enjoy hearing poetry read, preferably by the poets themselves even if they are not great ‘performers,’ but I’m visual rather than aural and need to come back to the page to absorb and fully appreciate the words and images. For this reason some works washed over me especially in the earlier section where the actors moved from one piece to another quite quickly. I would’ve appreciated an extra breath or two between each, but this is a minor grizzle as so many others I caught well as the pace slowed a little. Still others caught me out, especially at the end where I could easily have been an emotional heap — on the floor, with the very actors who blew a new life into our words.

Under Sedation: Canberra Verse Remixed is playing at The Street in Canberra until October 14. Go ‘see’ some great Canberra Region poetry — and the world today — unfold in the round.

Reviews (interestingly conflicting) at City News and The Canberra Times.

*A reference to American poet Wallace Stevens who worked most of his life as an executive for an insurance company — as you probably know already.

Sunday, October 01, 2017


While I think of it, the next submission period for Not Very Quiet poetry is around November with the second issue coming out early in the year. Moya Pacey, Sandra Renew plus a guest co-editor to be announced, are still working out the details. Keep an eye out.

Here’s another couple of submission calls: Failed Haiku closes on the 25th of each month, the Coolibah of Ultra-Short Poems (ed. Peter Bakowski) closes December 1 and The Moth Poetry Prize (€10000 plus runner up prizes) closes December 31. Blue Pepper edited by Justin Lowe continues on — send any time. I’ll be talking to you soon about The Canberra Times new submissions periods.

I source journal and submission information direct from journal websites and email news and via poetry networks and social media — my thanks to those poets who take the time to spread the word. I pass it on as much as I can.


For a long and lusty blast of poetry by women from almost every continent in the world go right now to the Not Very Quiet website. We’ve been waiting for it since its announcement early in the year — and it’s here. Congratulations to Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew on their vision and on this first issue full of beautiful and often startling words.

The debut issue was launched on September 25 at Smith’s Alternative in Canberra to a packed house. The Not Very Quiet event with performances and readings by poets from the Canberra region was followed by the launch of new collections by the co-editors: Black Tulips by Moya Pacey (Recent Work Press) and Who Sleeps at Night?: Poetry of Conflict by Sandra Renew (Ginninderra Press). 

Friday, September 29, 2017


This has been a year of generous invitations — a happy place indeed. One of the most exciting is the inclusion of my poem $600 in the play Under Sedation: Canberra Verse Remixed directed by Adele Chynoweth. The play runs from September 29 until October 14 at the Street Theatre in Canberra. It’s a two-hander with actors Ruth Pieloor and Ben Drysdale. I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth and Adele at the recent Not Very Quiet launch. Here I am with Ruth (middle) and poet Janette Pieloor (yes — proud mother). 

Visit for more on Under Sedation a play of words, physical theatre and music. The poets whose work has been re-mixed into the unfolding story are:

A.D.Hope | Andi and George Band | Greg Appel | Dorothy Green| Michael Byrne | Adrian Caesar | David Campbell | Coda Conduct | Malcolm Coller | P.S.Cottier | Vesna Cvjeticanin | Michael Dransfield | Niloofar Fanaiyan | Bela Farkas | Fun Machine | Kevin Gilbert | Paul Hetherington | Fallen Joys | J.C.Inman | Subhash Jaireth | Burrows  |  Aaron Kirby | Victoria McGrath | Mark O’Connor | Lizz Murphy | Omar Musa |Geoff Page | Anita Patel | Sandra Renew | Sarah Rice |Cracked Actor| Fred Smith | Melinda Smith | John-Karl Stokes | Monique Suna I You Am I

The inspiration of course is AD Hope’s poem Under Sedation which you can read here.  

Friday, September 08, 2017


Poetry workshops, poetry readings, book launches, poetry in translation, panels, exhibitions, all on themes relating to Boundary Crossings. Find the Poetry on the Move 2017 program here. The festival is organized by the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra. It's directed by Paul Munden.

‘Take Five’: The Creative Response
Ten poets will talk about their creative response as part of the forthcoming anthology titled Take Five (ed. Kathy Kituai). Hear about Kathy Kituai's project and the diverse responses by Kathy Kituai herself, Paul Hetherington, Paul Munden, Judith Crispin, Owen Bullock, Kerrie Nelson, Melinda Smith, Sarah Rice, David Terelinck and myself, on Thursday, September 14, 4.00 pm-6.00 pm, Building 1, A21.


Delighted to be reading with Paul Hetherington (Canberra) and Chris Wallace Crabbe (Melbourne), Wednesday September 13, 7.30 pm at Poetry at the House, University House, ANU, 1 Balmain Crescent, Acton. Bookings essential — email Coordinator Geoff Page at gpage40 [at] bigpond [dot] net [dot] au Admission: $10 waged, $5 unwaged. It's booking out fast.

You can eat at the bistro downstairs from 6.00 pm (bookings not necessary).
Chris Wallace-Crabbe lives in post-industrial Brunswick, Victoria. His latest books are Afternoon in the Central Nervous System (New York: George Braziller) and My Feet Are Hungry (Pitt Street Poetry). In 2015 he won The Melbourne Prize for Literature. Don't miss this chance to hear a great Australian poet still writing at full strength well into his eighties. 
Paul Hetherington has published eleven poetry collections, most recently Burnt Umber (UWAP) and Gallery of Antique Art (Recent Work Press) and five chapbooks. He is Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra and head of the International Poetry Studies Institute there. He is a founding editor of Axon: Creative Explorations.

Monday, August 07, 2017


A strange walk

It’s strange going back to earlier poems even if it is after only a few years. You read them as if you weren’t the one who wrote them at all. Sometimes I completely forget that I had written a particular poem or batch or that I ever wrote in that style or on that theme.

Walk the Wildy was first published in 2009 by the original Picaro Press owned by poet Rob Riel in Newcastle NSW. It has just been reprinted by Stephen Matthew’s Ginninderra Press which took over the Picaro Press imprint, when Rob was unable to continue. The new edition has a classy white glossy cover with sharp black lettering. The new cover image is a quite monochromatic shot of Grogans Road which I have walked a thousand times over. I can spend a lot of time looking at these almost animated shadows.

A number of the poems are inspired by the place of Binalong — birdlife, drought, hard working people. The collection also takes me back to exhibitions I participated in, books and poems I have read, pondering over a paddock gate, civilians under threat at that time, memories of the place I originated from. I feel quite nostalgic.

The style of the 5 page fragmented title poem is inspired by Mary Oliver’s The Leaf and the Cloud a delicious book (all one poem) I found in Kathy Kituai’s guest room.

With thanks to Stephen, Rob and Kathy.

Here’s the back cover blurb:
Walk the Wildly with Lizz Murphy in this, her fifth collection of poetry, where winter is a lumbering lantern-jawed season, spring is a baking back, untimely frost a trollop. There are women of precise skirts, men with shipwrecked backs and locals who inspect the brash blue, foreheads strained like fence wire. Reflecting on absence and place, the sea is put aside for special occasions, the river kept for the everyday and language is slow from heat and unfinished endings. She also writes of water ancients, civilian targets and angels caught off guard. Lizz Murphy lives in the village of Binalong in rural NSW.

How to order:
Walk the Wildly (Picaro Press 2009, Picaro Press/Ginninderra 2017, pb, 35 pp, RRP $12). Order from Ginninderra Press here (check out the other Picaro Press titles too) or send me a note.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Huge hoorahs for The Canberra Times still publishing Saturday poems. Newspapers are one of the few opportunities contemporary poetry has for a really big reach. Newspaper audiences are big. Like, really BIG.

We like to think every person who buys/reads a newspaper also reads the poem. I like to believe almost everyone indeed does read the poem. I base that on the number of people who have told me that they do. (Hey I get around. I speak to people.)

Plus the fact that even people who confess to not liking poetry, often tell me: ‘… but I always read those Saturday poems!’ And that they like them and even look forward to them. I have clasped this close to my heart over many years – so you may have heard me say this before.

So know that I am beside myself with excitement, when I tell you that Yours Truly is taking over as The Canberra Times Poetry Editor shortly. I’ve been sitting on this for months, while having coffee and delightful discussions about the role, the importance of the Saturday poem and poetry in general, with outgoing editor Melinda Smith.

Yes, it’s Melinda Smith you can thank for the superb poems published in the Panorama arts supplement for the last two years. (Almost – Melinda’s selections will appear up until early August or so.) Thanks go to Melinda, who by the way has just released a new book Good Bye, Cruel (Pitt Street Poetry) and thanks go to all poets who sent in their poems.

So here I am. It’s a privileged position to be in and it’s put a superb wind in my sails. I will read hundreds of new poems. Of course some will not be up to scratch, but most will be good, a lot will be terrific, some will be exceptional. Bring it on!

With only fifty-two Saturdays in a year, like any submission call the hardest thing will be declining good poems. Be assured each and every one will be handled with care though.

The full Canberra Times Editorial Policy for Poetry is available in the top menu. Please read. To give you a kick start, the essential nuts and bolts are: send up to three unpublished poems of up to 28 lines (not counting title and stanza breaks) to canberra[dot]times[dot]poetry[at]gmail[dot]com by May 31. (Poets published in The Canberra Times are asked to skip the next year.) 

Pass the word on far and wide.

Photo taken at the National Museum of Australia.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Poetry Day Ireland was held on April 27. A special double issue of FourXFour was released as part of its celebrations. I am happily one of the eight invited contributors in Issue 20/21: Spring 2017. It's a beautiful range of voices. I just wanted to give you the updated link: And here's a local splash of purple while I'm at it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Delighted not only to be an invited contributor to FourXFour one of Poetry NI’s online journals, but to be part of the special double issue to be released on Poetry Day Ireland, April 27. The other contributors are Nathan Armstrong, Julieann Campbell, Michael Conaghan, Aine MacAodha, Willetta Fleming, Gareth Osborne and Patrick Taggart. FourXFour is edited by Colin Dardis. 

You can read about Poetry NI here: You can read about its founder Colin Dardis, a dynamic poet and poetry activist based in Belfast, here:

Sunday, March 05, 2017



This is great news indeed. Canberra poets Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew have established a new online journal for women’s poetry called Not Very Quiet. The issues are thematic and based on a quotation selected by the editors or guest editors.

The journal and its first submission period will be launched Monday March 20, 7.00 pm - 8.00 pm at Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga St, Canberra City by Melinda Smith of 2014 Prime Minister Literary Prize (Poetry) fame.

I’ll be reading at the launch with other poets including Melinda, Jen Webb and Victoria McGrath. If you’re near Canberra join in the celebration.
There’s an open mike!

Meanwhile check out the background information, submission guidelines and first theme at

Sunday, February 26, 2017


One battered author copy

Update: PS Cottier's question below about publishing has me thinking more about that recession time. Big publishers were 'rationalizing,' small publishers were holding back or folding and bookshops were closing. In my job at the time I visited bookshops when I was in other places for work — in the trade, bookshops have their own high profiles. I remember a pleasant visit to one store in Hobart where I asked after another I'd had trouble finding. They told me it had recently closed down. Their eyes were downcast. I felt they suspected they were next. Btw I still haven't archived that next drawer.

I’m feeling quite nostalgic. I’ve emptied out the top drawer of one filing cabinet and gone through each folder before ‘archiving’ ie shove in a storage box. I’ve not only made space for some of the pile pictured in my last post but revisited my first book She’s a Train and She’s Dangerous: Women Alone in the 1990s (Literary Mouse Press 1994). What a long title — I always thought I wouldn’t do that.

Letters accompanying submissions range from short and business-like to chattier with positive feedback on the idea, to women sharing their lives. 

bedridden she writes about her life
sends me lavender and pine cones

They are typed — and even handwritten — including one from Elizabeth Jolley. There is correspondence with poets I’ve come to know quite well and my own updates showing the hard history of trying to get a first anthology published (not to mention during a recession). There is a small, beautiful catalogue of poems and images from the late artist and poet Margaret West — now retrieved and placed on my poetry shelves. 

Over six hundred poems and stories later and a village post office in a bit of a flap ...  

I’m reminded that it was Sarah Rossetti who suggested the fabulous Ruth Clark and her Literary Mouse Press in Perth — I was wondering how we first connected. I’m also pleased to tell you that this first book sold out in six months. Women stopped me to say how they loved the book and were sharing it around. One was in a reading group queue — doesn’t help with sales but I loved the spirit of it. There were loads of reviews.

There is the memory of other wonderful writers who offered different kinds of support and advice including Sherryl Clark, Nina Kavunenko, Susan Lever, Robyn Lincoln, Chris Mansell, Janene Pellarin, Sarah St Vincent Welch. So much has happened since.

I can’t wait to ‘archive’ the next drawer.