Saturday, September 08, 2018


A growing 'studio' wall space of drawings and poems for One Sky Many Stories at Belconnen Arts Centre. I'm layering mixed media — charcoal, pencil, gold paint-pen and oil pastel so far. Some text — more text intended. It's a Living Studio. I'm there at different times and so are other artists. Today, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello who is making larger than life Seven Sisters from collected materials was also in the gallery.

Sorry to see Dan 'Byrd' Maginnity's Counter Narrative Device — a full size cardboard derelict vehicle — completed and moved on. Yesterday was the last day of that Living Studio exhibition. Likewise Hanna Hoyne and Amanda Stuart's Sloughing Vessel 2018. The large function space was totally transformed while these artists worked on site on their fascinating full size artworks.

Belconnen Arts Centre is preparing for Stage II — a new theatre space plus refurbishments of Stage I. So it's alternative activities in the existing spaces for a while and a fabulous program of workshops/masterclasses in artists' private studios. Click here.

Friday, September 07, 2018


women stitched into
forest like stars into night
she makes pinholes in cloth
they follow light
sewn sturdy

after photo by Kelly Ryan Photography
workshop at Wild Rumpus Jamboree (2017)

Written for One Sky Many Stories 


A winter river
carries into the lake
The sun repeats itself
Whirl and twist
perfect stillness

found text Cosmos & New Scientist
Another fragment towards my 
One Sky Many Stories project 

Sunday, September 02, 2018


After the One Sky Many Stories concert

So delighted to be one of the local arts practitioners invited into the Living Studio at Belconnen Arts Centre (BAC), working to the theme of One Sky, Many Stories.

I intermittently experiment with visual arts to find words. Sometimes the experiments become small art & text works; sometimes they grow into poems I wouldn’t otherwise have written. For One Sky, Many Stories I’m drawn towards mixed media works on paper incorporating charcoal, pencil, ink, torn paper, text. I hope for a good poem out of that. That’s the feeling at the moment anyway. There will be other writing too.

No obligation to complete works at this stage which is just as well as I'm still puddling about. Some of said puddles pictured above after the concert with astronomer Fred Watson, centre (and Aroona Murphy in the background).

Meanwhile the One Sky, Many Stories: What do stars mean to you? performance by the Griffyn Ensemble, Michael Sollis, Arrente man Warren H Williams and Fred Watson at BAC on August 18 was superb. Visit the Griffyn Ensemble website to find out more about this project and to sample some of the music. 

Thursday, August 02, 2018


Blessed? Or do I mean blissed?! Here I am (left) with the other Blissmakers: Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Merlinda Bobis and Kathy Kituai of Canberra, pictured in July at Belconnen Arts Centre, our usual meeting place. We visit the current exhibitions, drink coffee and tea and talk our heads off before having a noodly lunch. There is so much to cover — what we are working on, what we’d like to be working on, what inspires us, what readings we’ve been to, who we admire, what artwork we love there etc etc. These women are an inspiration in themselves!

Sometimes I get a little ekphrastic scribbling in too. Bonus.

Do you like the emerging purple and blue theme? 


Robyn Rowland featured poet

Robyn Rowland was a sensation at A Brush with Poetry in Binalong on Sunday. Reading from her latest books This Intimate War (2nd edition, Spinifex Press 2018) and Mosaics from the Map (DoĆ­re Press 2018), she had the audience hanging off every word and no wonder. The poems are narratives and histories with luscious words winging from young love to curdling life, from the taste of desire to the shredding noise of war. The bilingual collection This Intimate War is unique in that it sings the stories of all sides — the soldiers and child soldiers, the wives and mothers, the grandfathers, friends, family, lovers. Children of Gallipoli and Production Lines are two of the most poignant poems you could read. Victoria-based, Robyn has just returned from Ireland (where she lives half the year) and Turkey. We are so fortunate to have her join us in Binalong during one of her Canberra trips.

Poets and performers participating in the shared mike included Colin Campbell (also guest emcee), Janne Graham, Lindsay, Andrew McDonald and Janette Pieloor from Canberra, Ron Hoile from Boorowa, Peter Rose from Yass. Robyn Sykes (Coordinator and Deputy President of Binalong Arts Group) and myself (BAG & Brush committee member) also performed.

A Brush with Poetry is held on the last Sunday of odd months at the Black Swan Gallery. It attracts a great mix of poets and poetry lovers from Binalong, surrounding regional towns and Canberra. 

You can hear a pin drop when Colin Campbell (guest co-MC) reads his own work
 Always delighted to hear Janette Pieloor (above) and Janne Graham (below) read new work

Janne Graham with Robyn Sykes Coordinator & co-MC
Lindsay whose name escapes me — apologies — always has us in stitches

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.