Thursday, January 26, 2023


Brush up your poems everyone. A Brush with Poetry's shared mic is on this Sunday in Binalong, That Poetry Thing that is on Every Monday Night is on this Monday in Canberra - includes an open mic most times, Flying Islands launches its 2023 list in Glebe on February 4. 

More details:

A Brush with Poetry - Café on Queen, Queen Street, Binalong NSW - Sunday January 29 at 1.30 for 2.00 pm. Contact Coordinator Robyn Sykes at robynsykespoet [at] gmail [dot com All styles of poetry welcome and also song and music.

That Poetry Thing ... - Smith's Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra at 7.00 pm. Watch their Facebook page for features and open mics.

Flying Islands Poetry Community Inc - launch of new poetry titles by Richard James Allen, Angie Contini, Jill McKeowen, D. G. Lloyd, Vaughan Rapatahana, Yannis Rentzos, Kevin Smith, Sophia Wilson, at The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW at 5. 00 pm. Also see Estuary there, an exhibition of paintings by Brian Purcell

    Followed by a reading at The Shop on Sunday at 3.00 pm: Richard James Allen, Angie Contini, Anna Couani, Christopher (Kit) Kelen, Brian Purcell, Sarah St Vincent Welch.

Hope to see you Sunday for a start.

Thursday, January 19, 2023


The new year is up and running with Poetry at Manning Clark House in Canberra tonight (Thursday, January 19 at 7 pm) and A Brush with Poetry in Binalong Sunday week. 

Manning Clark House (MCH)
Great round-up this evening at MCH with almost thirty poets reading one of their ‘signature’ poems. They’re all so fabulous I can’t pick a sampling, so here’s the whole list: Michelle Brock, Rohan Beuttel, Penelope Cottier, Judith Crispin, Christopher Dorman, Suzanne Edgar, Paul Hetherington, Kathy Kituai, Jacqui Malins, Kerrie Nelson, Penelope Layland, Lizz Murphy, Gemma Nethercote Way, Mark O'Connor, Rosa O'Kane, Moya Pacey, Geoff Page, Sandra Renew, Sarah Rice, Barbie Robinson, Shane Strange, Jen Webb, Sarah St Vincent Welch, Luke Whitington, Tony Williams, Kimberly Williams. Hosted by Hazel Hall and Kimberly Williams — a dynamic duo. See you at Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circuit, Forrest. 

A Brush with Poetry
Then it’s a country drive for A Brush with Poetry on Sunday, January 29 at 1.30 for 2 pm. It’s a shared mike afternoon with all styles of poetry and performance — from ballad to sonnet to free range; from bush narratives to contemporary topics — read or recite, sing or make music. A Binalong Arts Group (BAG) signature event. BAG President and Brush Coordinator, Robyn Sykes is available by text on 0401 289 178 for any queries or bookings. Free but donations welcome. Join us at Café on Queen, Queen Street, Binalong — light meals, snacks, cake, coffee, wine etc available. Supported by Southern Tablelands Arts (STA).

Please note: no Zoom available on this occasion.

PS Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, December 05, 2022


I am so delighted with the reviews of The Wear of my Face. The latest is in Issue 35 — Architecture of that fabulous publication Rabbit: A Journal of Nonfiction Poetry. Why the Architecture issue? Well for one thing the first poem is called The Architecture of Pear. Reviewer Dominique Hecq suggests this poem announces the texture, structural design and method of the collection. Is true. Dominique also says the writing is earthy, seductive and sophisticated … So generous. Very grateful to Dominique Hecq and Rabbit.

Saturday, December 03, 2022


It’s All Connected: Feminist Fiction and Poetry
has just arrived from Spinifex Press. It looks luscious! 

Edited by Pauline Hopkins it features new work by almost forty writers including Dianne Bell, Merlinda Bobis, Susan Hawthorne, berni m janssen, Renate Klein, Primila Venkateswaran, Patricia Sykes and the late Jordie Albiston. 

My poem The Poet is inspired by a painting of the same title by artist and poet Lily Prigionero. It was a challenge posted by The Ekphrastic Review in July 2021. While my poem didn’t get selected for that journal — you can read the twenty or so wonderful selections here — I am thrilled that this more developed version was accepted by Pauline for her anthology. 

Lily’s painting took me on a journey through time and place, covid and caring. The Canberra café I write about as opposed to the café in the painting, is Café 2615 in Belconnen, where I would frequently spend a few hours while my late husband Bill was on dialysis (three times a week). Under the veil of the pandemic this normally hectically busy café was surreally quiet, emphasising our changing world. 

Anyway, this is my reading for tonight and I’m so looking forward to it. Pauline Hopkins’ own piece Paige will stay with me ... forever ... you will find it on page 195. 

You can order It’s All Connected from all good bookshops and from the Spinifex Press online shop

PS There is a little more about that day in the café and a seed of the poem in this post from 2020.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022


Lizz Murphy/Kate O'Connor opening Friday 6 pm

'Here we are/where are we?' an old regular would frequently say at the local pub, on his visits to Binalong. I'm thinking it kinda sums up what Kate O'Connor and I are exploring in our linked exhibitions Finding our Way Home (Kate) and Piece of Place. They open together on Friday, November 4 at 6 pm — no formalities — just wine, nibbles, pizza pieces in The Hive at the rear of Café on Queen, Queen Street, Binalong. We have each painted over thirty works most of which are just 10 x 10 cm or 15 x 15 cm. It's a buy-and-take-away scenario — and we hope you do!

Working in acrylic and paint-pen on tiny canvases, Kate has created paintings, maps and verse — landscape, abstracted imagery, coded poems, landmarks and memories — helping her map 'the way home.' I track, I trace the outline of a past I cannot place/I make histories in the clouds/The branch, that one bird song at three — Finding our Way Home is supported by the Yass Valley Arts Trail.

I have worked in acrylic paint with found text on canvas, capturing vintage objects (and memories) from over the years and also created a sequence of Tree Haiga — close-ups of bark and leaves with haiku poems representing my place. roots run deep/knot old and new/rephrasing/the song of you — Piece of Place is supported by a Southern Tablelands Arts Micro Grant (a Covid initiative).

The exhibitions continue over the weekend from 10 am to 4 pm as part of the Yass Valley Arts Trail which is responsible for an explosion of art across the region November 5-6. Visit their Facebook page to find out more. 

More Yass Valley Arts Trail events in Binalong:
Same venue — still a space or two in Poetree my tree-themed workshop, Sunday at 10 am — contact me on lizzmurphy7[at]gmail[dot]com And in the afternoon all are welcome at Binalong Arts Group's pop-up Brush with Poetry (coordinator Robyn Sykes) featuring Sarah St Vincent Welch. Includes tree themes — join in the open mike with a tree poem (or any). Sunday 2-4 pm. Visit nearby exhibitions/open studios at the Old Bakery Gallery and Peter Minson Art Glass.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022


Special guest Sarah St Vincent Welch
Photo by Dylan Jones

It’s a vibrant weekend across the Yass Valley thanks to the Yass Valley Arts Trail, driven by Cayla Pothan of Yass. A highlight of Binalong’s weekend of Arts Trail activities is a tree-themed pop-up Brush with Poetry organized by Binalong Arts Group (BAG) on Sunday November 6 at 2 pm in The Hive, Café on Queen, 13/15 Queen Street, Binalong. 

Our featured poet is well-known Sarah St Vincent Welch who is instigator of the Kindred Trees website project, featuring trees loved by Canberra Region poets in the form of photographs and original poems. Sarah will talk a little about this project, read a tree poem or two and share other poems including from her two poetry titles. See Sarah’s bio below. 

This special Brush with Poetry will include its usual shared mike where everyone is welcome to share a poem — or more — depending on how time goes. On this occasion we encourage you to read or recite a tree-themed poem (but not essential — we’re open). Music and song also welcome. Or just come along and listen.

Sarah St Vincent Welch is a Canberra based writer and image maker who is known for chalking her poetry on footpaths at arts festivals. Her poetry can be read in ‘chalk borders’ (Flying Islands Books) and ‘Open’ (Rochford Press) and in anthologies and magazines. She has also published short stories. She is the founder of Kindred Trees, a project that asks Canberra poets to respond to a local tree, and which encourages a love of trees through poetry ( St Vincent Welch has worked in film preservation, (specialising in early film), and has facilitated creative writing in the community. 
Please note that Café on Queen is not open on this occasion due to private functions but there will be a tea urn and nibbles (BYO if you like) and coffee is available nearby. Other Binalong events include the duo exhibitions A Piece of Place and Finding our Way Home by Lizz Murphy and Kate O’Connor and exhibitions at the Old Bakery Gallery and Peter Minson Art Glass, open all weekend, plus the Poetree poetry workshop 10.00-12.30 Sunday (bookings essential). The Binalong Public School fair is also on Sunday until 1.00 pm. 

For more information on the Yass Valley Arts Trail please visit their Facebook page, plus Cayla’s page for related activities at her Tootsie Gallery Café.

Friday, October 07, 2022


Out on a limb with your writing? Fancy exploring your love of trees through poetry? From leaf tips to root tips, trees are full of stories and inspiration. Spend a day drafting and developing poems about trees and related themes. Be inspired by the artwork in Tree Whispers an exhibition by members of the Networks Australia group, on show from October 14 in the Pivot Gallery at Belconnen Arts Centre.

Branching Out is a poetry workshop for beginners and the more experienced, writing poetry in any style. Participants are encouraged to bring photographs/images of trees to share and any information that may help you branch out. Don't forget your pen and paper/journals/notebooks/iPads — whatever you use for writing :) Please book below.

Looking forward to spending time with you at Branching Out.


An Exhibitions Live Workshop with Lizz Murphy

10:30am-4pm Saturday October 15, 2022 

Cost: $115 per person

Book now

Monday, October 03, 2022


I am delighted to be reading with visiting poet Louise Crisp tonight in The Geoff's at That Poetry Thing that's on at Smith's on a Monday Night —tonight! Louise Crisp's new collection Glide extends her research into the environments of south-eastern Australia; stolen land afflicted by the ongoing colonial practices of logging, mining and land clearing. It's published by Puncher and Wattman (2021).

I'll be reading more of those hybrid and prose poems we talked about recently at the sensational Poetry On The Move festival in Canberra. It might include an early poem with a social housing link given one of our conversations this morning on our Postcards from the Sky Zoom. But I'll mainly be reading from The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press). Thank you Geoff Page for including me again as a local poet. Canberra is my second home — so much to write about there.

Pic: sky high in Canberra

Sunday, October 02, 2022



Start the day with the new Poets' Breakfast 9.00 -11.00  am, at Peppers Cafe, Pudman Street, Boorowa with instigator Robyn Sykes as the feature and a shared mike for all styles of poetry. I'll be there.

Great weather for the Boorowa Woolfest this weekend — first in three years due to you-know-what —and its biggest day today (Sunday) with its well-known highlight, the Running of the Sheep, following the parade at 12 noon. There are working dog demos, pipe bands, Irish music, storytime, exhibitions, stalls, pie eating, all things wool ... Did I mention Irish music? Did I mention the big Irish history?

Pic: You want me to run where?!

Sunday, July 31, 2022



ACT Writers announced their first ACT Notable Awards on Friday Night. Celebrating the Canberra Region's writers was a grand way to bring everyone together after the hiatus of the last two years.

I was thrilled to be shortlisted in the 2021 Poetry (Big Press) category with the amazing Omar Musa. I am even happier to tell you that I won that category and Omar went further and won the 2021 Special Book Award which was the pick of that whole year's books across all categories. Hearty congratulations to Omar. His book is Killernova (Penguin Books Australia) and he is currently in London doing the UK launch. If you've been here before you will know my poetry collection is The Wear of my Face (from the not so big Spinifex Press).

I can't access a full list of winners yet (I might get some wrong if I rely on memory) but here is the rest of the poetry — congratulations to all:

2021 Small Press Winner — Sandra Renew It's the Sugar, Sugar (Recent Work Press): Highly Commended — Sarah Rice Text/ure (Recent Work Press) and Sarah St Vincent Welch chalk borders (Flying Island Books).

2020 Small Press Winner — Penelope Layland Nigh (Recent Works Press); Highly Commended — PS Cottier Utterly (Ginninderra Press). No Big Press shortlist.

Back to Special Book Awards — very pleased to tell you Craig Cormick and Harold Ludwick, co-authors of On a Barbarous Coast (Allen and Unwin) took out the big overall 2020 award.

The June Shenfield Poetry Award was also announced and this was won by Rosa O'Kane for her poem If I Put It In A Poem.

I'll provide a link to the full results once it's available.

Photo: Here I am with good friend Sarah St Vincent Welch. 
Thank you Dylan Jones for the photo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022



If you have any interest at all in Irish poetry — and who hasn't! — you might like to visit the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, Ireland's only curated digital collection where the voices of Irish poets, both North and South, doing readings, scholarly masterclasses, and in conversation, along with digital copies of poetry related materials (anthologies programmes posters) are preserved for future generations. If you're in Dublin, you will find the archives in the James Joyce library at the University College of Dublin (UCD) otherwise you can jump online and find them here

Poets include everyone from Nuala Ní Dhomhniall and Mary Dorcey to Theo Dorgan and President Michael D Higgins to Andrew Jamison [related by chance?? — nee Jamison here] and Michael Longley to Medbh McGuckian, Maíghréad Medbh and Christine Murray. You will also find Australian poets Anne Casey, Robyn Rowland and myself, all part of the Irish diaspora. This is just a sampling — all the poets are fascinating. 

I must thank and thank Anne Casey who put the Archive in touch with me. It was such a great experience to visit the James Joyce Library and to meet co-founder Ursula Byrne and her team — great thanks indeed to them. It was fun too, travelling from Belfast to Dublin on the train with daughter Aroona Murphy and testing the Guinness at a couple of venues before the return trip. 

Here are my eight recorded poems, including links: 
A Woman’s Work (after Jenni Kemarre Martiniello) from The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press 2021) 
The Weight of Tomatoes from Two Lips went Shopping (Spinifex Press 2000) 
$600 from Six Hundred Dollars (PressPress)  
Departure from Stop your Cryin (Island Press)  
Felt from The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press 2021) 
Out of the White from Walk the Wildly (Picaro/Ginninderra)  
Brown Hills from Two Lips went Shopping (Spinifex Press 2000) 
Syria’s Children from The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press 2021) 

Photo: A Dublin afternoon in January

Wednesday, May 04, 2022


There are always amusing or special moments from changing skies to kangaroos and foxes giving you a nod or low-flying ducks or hawks swiftly passing your windscreen.

So grateful to have an interview in The Monthly arts journal published online by Community Arts Partnership (CAP) in Belfast, Ireland. They’ve also provided links to five of my eight readings filmed at the James Joyce Library at University College Dublin (UCD). Worth visiting for the range of poetry interviews from Scottish-Australian poet Ali Whitelock, to Scottish poet Magi Gibson and Canadian poet Catherine Graham. There are videos of Seamus Heaney reading Digging and Sinéad Morrissey talking about her poem inspired by the painting Titian, and spoken word music, podcasts and links to International Page and Stage online events, just to mention some.

Great thanks to Ali Whitelock for connecting me with The Monthly and to Gordon Hewitt, editor, for the opportunity.

Photo: Oh aye — wandered past this plaque in Dublin 

for the UCD readings but we were too late for Seamus

Sunday, May 01, 2022



If you’re writing about Antartica here’s a new opportunity to be published. Send up to four poems (of up to two pages each) to Griffith Review 77: Real Cool World (published in partnership with the Australian Antarctic Division) by May 13, 2022. Real Cool World will explore Antarctica as a place and as a canvas for imagination. This vast, dry continent drives much of the Earth’s weather, part litmus test for change at the world’s extremities and part canary in the coalmine...

Island Magazine — premium literary magazine of fiction, poetry, nonfiction and arts features — open to submissions from Australian and New Zealand writers until May 15. Island pays a fee of $125 (less cost of Island subscription if not currently subscribed). The current issue includes the winning entries of this year’s Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize. 

The Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW) is calling for prose and poetry submissions for a fund-raising anthology titled Prose and Poems for Ukraine by Women of the World. Deadline: May 22. 

Rabbit is currently accepting submissions of nonfiction poetry for Issue 36: the ART Issue. Think not: what does 'non-fiction' do to poetry; think: what can poetry (+ art) do to non-fiction? What do poetry and art bring to one another? How does one open and enlarge the field of the other? How do they enliven the 'real world'? More information here. Deadline: May 31.

Photo: Mini snowman by granddaughter Ruby (Belfast, January 2022)


Monday Night

Just call me Twiggy — oh but that name is already taken!— and I’m not that build any more! — just that I can’t wait for tomorrow night’s Canberra Tree Week/Kindred Trees reading, with a grand posy of poems from prodigious poets Samia Goudie, C E Collins, Tony Steven Williams, Jacqui Malins, Amanda McLeod, S. K. Kelen, Shezhad Hathi and Jen Webb (and myself) and more tree themed treasures from the open mike. It’s a Monday night so of COURSE it’s at That Poetry Thing that’s on at Smith’s Alternative on Mondays, Alinga Street, Canberra. Huge thanks to Sarah St Vincent Welch for her exceptional ongoing Kindred Trees project — visit Kindred Trees online for superb tree poems and photographs.    

Thursday, April 28, 2022


Saturday’s Poetry Reading 

There is a sense here of a poetic intelligence looking sidelong, as one looks to the night sky to see objects of beauty — even when the subject of the poet’s focus is something concretely calamitous. 
Thank you, Penelope Layland (Panorama/The Canberra Times), for your deeply thoughtful review of my latest poetry collection The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press). 

I will read from The Wear of my Face at The Yass Book Store on Saturday at 3 pm. There’s an open mike and a chance to mingle and have a cup of tea with us poets. Host is Yass Book Store owner Joanna Hicks. Joanna has lived in Yass since 2009 and is thrilled to be able to share her love of books and reading with locals and visitors. 

The Yass Book Store is a treasure chest of current books on wide-ranging topics, regional art and craft and bric-a-brac. You should visit. Take your purse. You will definitely need your purse. Do people say purse? Wallet. Take your wallet. You will definitely need your wallet. Every time I go in I find something totally irresistible. 

RSVP to or phone 0408 654 911 or click here to register:

Photo: Don't be frightened — it's just a poet. Well actually, 
it's a bad-weather/possum on the aerial pixelated photo of a TV screen.

Monday, April 18, 2022


Here’s an interview I did for the Belfast Telegraph one of the main papers in my hometown: ‘Place is belonging and writing about place can be a search for belonging' (October 16, 2021). I slipped it in before life went pear shaped. The first poem in The Wear of my Face is not about pears for nothing. However, with floods and wars, other people’s lives are currently even more peary. 

This is what I was thinking at the time: ‘I sometimes think I write to find solid ground in a story of loss, migration, colonisation and class. For me, place is belonging and writing about place can be a search for belonging – an attempt to understand one’s own displacement or the displacement of others and what that must be like.’

PS OK so the photo was actually taken in Dublin (January this year) rather than Belfast.

Thursday, April 14, 2022


What a blast it was reading with Marion Clarke (Northern Ireland), Amy Louise Wyatt (Northern Ireland), Kiri Piahana-Wong (New Zealand) and Makyla Curtis (New Zealand) in the International Page and Stage (IPS) Rites of Women Zoom event on Sunday night (my time). Great thanks to Gordon Hewitt for the invitation and Susan Millar DuMars for hosting the event.

The poetry was varied and evocative, rhythmic and striking and as someone else said — just sumptuous. These events Zoom and FB livestream, then remain on the  International Page and Stage Facebook page to be accessed at any time afterwards. Now that I have discovered it I am working my way through previous events and enjoying poets from all over Ireland and from all over the world.

Thank you friends/colleagues Deborah Faeyrglenn (Canberra), Curt Linderman (US) from The Cool People, The Night People FB group (Billy Collins followers) and Victoria McGrath (Yass NSW) for being there on Sunday. Thank you also to Jenni Kemarre Martiniello whose capturing glasswork was the inspiration for my poem A Women's Work which was of interest.

I've provided links wherever possible to everyone's online presence or examples of their work, and here is the link for Sunday night's Rites of Women recording:  Watch the IPS Facebook page for new events.

Saturday, April 09, 2022



The charismatic Moni McInerney of the Belconnen Arts Centre (BAC will do me the honour of launching The Wear of my Face (Spinifex Press) at the sensational Smith's Alternative on Monday April 11 at 7 pm. The equally vibrant Sarah St Vincent Welch is MC representing the also sensational That Poetry Thing that's on at Smith's Every Monday. (See leaflet below.)

That's neither of them in the photo by the way. Thinking about BAC's lake setting reminds me of my days during the first Covid lockdown. My isolation/social distancing was not as active this person's — you did notice the pic is taken from within the car, right? Laptops, books, flasks of tea, chocolate biscuits ...

I'm one of two launches on the night. The inimitable Kit Kelen is the other with his Book of Mother collection. Short open mike. Free admission. Pass the word on, eh.



Friday, April 08, 2022


I’m a guest poet this Sunday April 10 in the first of two International Page and Stage Zooms on the theme The Rites of Women from Opposite Ends of the Earth (Northern Hemisphere) —
 a very exciting invitation. I join Marion Clarke (Northern Ireland), Amy Louise Wyatt (Northern Ireland), Kiri Piahana-Wong (New Zealand) and Makyla Curtis (New Zealand). Times are: Ireland and UK — 10.30 am; Binalong and Canberra — 7.30 pm, New Zealand — 9.30 pm. Visit the International Page and Stage Facebook page for information on Zoom links and the FB live streaming of this plus more events happening very soon. 

International Page and Stage is part of a New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership (CAP). It’s a wide-ranging arts program with everything from poetry in schools and drama to public art and — not surprisingly — spray art festivals (Belfast is renowned for its gable-end street murals). There is also a lot of great content in their online journal The Monthly.

Many thanks indeed to Gordon Hewitt who among other things is the Editor of The Monthly. Visit the March Poetry and Spoken Word edition for poets from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Jamaica, US.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


A poem for Bill (excerpt) published in The Wear of My Face (Spinifex Press 2021).


Photo by Séan Hicks


2021: Up and down. In and out. Bereaved. Scarpered.

City Hall Belfast

Arrived in Belfast on New Year's Eve. Here we are whizzing by the City Hall on our hunt for open (as advertised) Covid testing clinics on the required day. No luck. Isolation extended from 2 or 3 days to several days. No worries. Plenty of 'essential supplies' plus daughter's good friends made welcome-back door drops. Ironically, just after completing our iso' the UK gov ditched that requirement!


Did I mention it has snowed on and off? Rain of course in between. This is the view from my January bedsit. Rubbing shoulders with Cavehill. You can see all of Belfast from the top. The outline of Cavehill is likened to the profile of a sleeping giant and is said to have inspired Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. And oh yes, sunset is around 4.30 pm.

Saturday, October 30, 2021



One of two ancient trees left on our patch. I think it's a Eucalyptus melliodora (yellow box) but would have to double check (I used to know). Really this is me trying to resolve some Blog loading problems. I would like to write a poem for these survivors though. Just read that the flowers come in groups of seven. Fancy that.

Oh by the way there was a review of The Wear of My Face (Spinifex Press) in The Canberra Times recently. Great thanks to Canberra poet Penelope LaylandThere is a sense here of a poetic intelligence looking sidelong, as one looks to the night sky to see objects of distant beauty - even when the subject of the poet's focus is something concretely calamitous. You can read the whole review online here.

Thursday, October 07, 2021