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, forthcoming). 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

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.


Thursday, February 16, 2017


My Room of One’s Own was once my daughter’s bedroom – we’re not too nostalgic – our children moved out and we moved in. This mess is over twenty years of freelance work and creative writing. There is almost as much again outside the frame. The pile in the middle is where I abandoned the sort/recycle/trash I was in the middle of a few years ago because I got wildly busy again. The cobwebs on the witches’ hats are real. Okay. Time to have another go. And I really must paint that ugly grey filing cabinet.

Sunday, February 12, 2017



Going down he jokes

You’re doing a good job as lift attendant

Cushy job standing here all day drinking takeaway coffee

Talking to people about Trump

Everyone is shaken up

I don’t have anything to add
[Posted on Project 366 on November 10, 2016]


They are concreting near a new building on the hospital campus a beaming worker stands his two feet in enormous gumboots freshly poured cement up to his calves like a small boy hock deep in mud I want the story I want a photo Like everyone else here I am in a rush
[A hospital poem posted on Project 366 on December 3, 2016]



This couple lean and worn in who never leave their home town have travelled wait not so patiently for the next stage They’d just be having breakfast around now and another three hours to go Some flick magazines young men poke at the net send texts one up very late stretches yawns lolls low on one elbow he might as well lie down Others stare ahead for a long time you wonder what each is facing A daughter attempts cheeriness her mother one foot in a velvety slipper one in dressings as white as eighty-five year old hair She slumps now in her wheelchair The vascular team arrives a leggy registrar poses giraffe-like is excited to be in the theatre gets to watch over shoulders might get to hitch a stitch or two

Another poem from Project 366 - to keep my hospital poems in one place It was posted on December 3, 2016
[Okay it's posting on this occasion as a long column - I don't mind it] 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Media: Oil pastel, collage, found text on paper. © Lizz Murphy


Back at the wharf,
on the guilty pursuit
I sallied forth
With the sun dipping low

Each time, the story deepens,
"Older thinkers had been wiser
Myth was no mere

Mystically I offer
years of human history
suspect of sins.
handle it.

In my life, I have had opportunities
"I am very grateful for that."

                         Several steps more

This is not an ending, this is a beginning. Thank you Kit Kelen and all the Project 365+1 contributors. It's been wonderful - even the days that had me cursin. Happy new year. 

Above is the last of my posts in Project 366. Some of the poets and artists are continuing on into 2017 such is their passion for daily making and posting, so the blog is still live and vibrant. I need to take stock. I know I gained so much from participating in the project not the least of which was being in that creative and supportive space with other poets for the whole year. Indebted to instigator/coordinator Christopher/Kit Kelen

See some previous posts for more about how I survived. There are also three pieces at the project's metablog: click here for In for the long haul; here for Bungee jumping: A response to Kit Kelen’s upside down meditation on daily practice; here for Get over yerself (my response to questions posed by Kit).

A number of the other participants have also posted about their experience and it's interesting reading indeed. Kit Kelen's Rather a long rant about it all is a terrific discourse which includes the background to Project 366, contemporary Australian poetry and publishing, the 'star system,' funding, community, Kit's own creative process and more ... Pour a glass of wine and settle in.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


“Murphy’s preoccupation with the marginalised voices of women and girls is astutely conveyed in this volume, which translates the pain and violence experienced by women into brief yet profound verses.”

I was so thrilled to be reviewed recently in Cordite Poetry Review. Not only was Stephanie Downing complementary but she seems to have articulated my own writing goals. I’m particularly pleased that she thinks the bird motif is effective.

I’m very appreciative. You can find the full review here, a little more about the book in a post below and information on all my micropoetry collections at PressPress.

A6 40pp ISBN 978-0-9873057-5-6
(cover photograph: Chris Mansell)
RRP $9.90 free p&p


One of things I hoped to do during Project 365 plus 1 was make erasure poems. I’ve made one or two here and there but I was attracted to the idea of doing a bunch of them. Maybe a take on news of the day, every day, for a while. It was almost the end of November before I got to it, and I’ve only made eleven. I didn’t think they’d be a breeze but they proved harder to ‘find’ than I expected. I call most of them ‘highlight poems.’ These were made on-screen beginning with highlighting in yellow what I wanted to keep and then highlighting in black (very effective) the text I wanted to erase. I love the black, yellow and white especially once I spaced the lines. They remind me of Charmion Von Wiegand or Piet Mondrian’s 'Composition' paintings.

Here’s the latest.

Saturday, November 05, 2016


This is my post # 310 on Project 365 + 1 a poem that fits with my earlier hospital poems. We're on the home run - only 56 poems or other works to go before the project ends on January 1. More guest poets and artists have arrived for November.

He props against the car
waits patiently expectantly
She lugs his fold-up wheelchair
out of the car
Not enough disability parks
her space is cramped
He sits in the wheelchair
She attempts to adjust a footrest
bends from the hip
to save her back
hair not quite sweeping the ground
cheeks flushing
Caring is like that some days
arse up
not caring

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


It’s late October and the core Project 365 + 1 group has been at it for almost 10 months. 299 days to be exact … and at this point I suddenly realize I must have missed a couple!

I have reached a stage where I don’t think I can haul another word out of me. There’s a mild sense of panic setting in. It’s as if everything now hinges on this project – all the writing I may ever do has to happen in the two months before it finishes. I’d better produce some good poems then! It never is rational this writing stuff.

I hope to get writing again in November. In the meantime see below for a peek at the series of art & text images I am making. Visit Project 365 + 1 for the full series so far (search for 'Head'). They are oil pastel and found text on A6 notepaper. 

Better still treat yourself to poetry and images by the other contributors including international poets, poetry in translation and an exciting new art & text collaboration by Bekim & Merima (Sweden) who joined in this month.

can't articulate in words."
paint runs in the rain,"

in a cardigan."
in an audacious dream of

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


New release from PressPress RRP $9.90.  

My latest collection of micropoems has arrived from PressPress. Wonderful. So pleased with the look of it. Thank you to publisher and poet Chris Mansell.

Backcover blurb:
Shebird is the woman or girl who wears the shroud of widows, guards the new grave, tastes gun, is paid two dollars a day or not paid at all. She is the child factory worker, the blackbird changing shadows, or the poet pondering black dogs and ravens or becoming the fox with mist on her breath.
   This is Lizz Murphy’s eighth poetry title and her third PressPress collection of micropoetry. She has also published five anthologies and is widely published inter/nationally.

The manuscript was developed with the support of an artsACT grant for which I am hugely grateful. It's taken a while to get from that final draft MS to the published book and it has gone through a few changes along the way. I'm also pleased to say that meanwhile a good many of the 40 poems have been published in Australia and internationally.

Order from me or from PressPress as convenient
A6 40pp ISBN 978-0-9873057-5-6
$9.90 including postage
Cover photo by publisher and poet Chris Mansell

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


Just had a chat with the ACT Writers Centre via their Taking Five column - Capital Letters blog about writing and writing workshops including the imminent Land•Sea•Air series (see the plug top right).

It begins with my writing career - a happy accident ...

Ends with the most common tips I give out at workshops - the need for the old standbys never goes away: have a dedicated writing space (of some sort), have a routine (of some sort), carry a notebook, take yourself seriously even if others don’t, be selective about who you seek feedback from, dream, set goals, just write.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Well no I don't think the Lilt series of poems and pieces I'm writing for Project 365 + 1 will cut it for the fragment genre manuscript mentioned below. But never mind. It's what is working for the moment and I'll come back to the other. Here's a fun piece just posted which brings back great memories. In Belfast they dance, laugh, party and tell it like it is.


for Aroona and Mags

They get straight to the point
Drink feckin responsibly
Take a feckin taxi
The taxi we took on our night out
was a karaoke taxi
He was sittin outside the club
waitin for his hens’ party to return
One of the girls chatted him up
took him off duty to take us
to our next venue
We’re all in the back
with microphones in our hands
tryin to sing
sayin is this switched on
can they hear us outside?
We are wettin ourselves
We arrive at the next club
all arguin to pay
fumblin with coins for the fare
The driver says
give us 50p each and fuck off!
We tumble on to the footpath
laughin’ our heads off

© Lizz Murphy

Photo: Aroona Murphy

Saturday, July 02, 2016


Lilt is the beginning of a series of poems/pieces/pieces of poems about Ireland drawing on a visual journal from my last visit. There have only been two visits. The first in autumn - of course it rained the whole time except when it unexpectedly snowed. The second was in summer and I re-experienced twilight and The Twelfth.

The 12th of July is the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne celebrated by Loyalists. It's a significant event with emotional and political pulls for both Protestants and Catholics. If you visit Belfast early July you'll find it strung with red, white and blue buntings and Union Jacks. There are also preparations for Bonfire Night (July 11) and traffic constantly held up by rehearsing marching bands. The Catholics clear out if they can. I have family and friends on both sides of 'the divide.' (Born a Protestant; married a Catholic; blah blah.)

It's five years since I visited and took these photos. It's time I tried to write a few pieces - besides I'm under pressure to produce for 365 + 1! I'm not sure if it will fit into my fragment manuscript slowly in progress - it might - it's another small experiment - I'll let you know. You can follow if at all inclined at

[Sorry - Blogger is doing crazy things with the formatting in #i]


The lilt of the ‘New Belfast’ tilts me 
motorways cutting through terraced terracotta  
battle anniversaries cutting through evening