Friday, May 10, 2019


Reading new work (sky theme) and maybe some old favourites at University House (ANU) on Wednesday May 15. Also looking forward to hearing Keith Harrison (Canberra) and Andrew Taylor (Sydney). Thanks as always to dedicated long-time Coordinator Geoff Page. Please note the new time (now 7.00 pm) and new venue (now Graduate Lounge). Snacks and meals available beforehand in the bistro.

Keith Harrison is currently working on a number of new projects including some 'visual poems' and is putting finishing touches to a memoir and a short novel. His latest collection of poems is Love, Variously, which appeared in 2018.
Andrew Taylor has published eighteen collections of poems, the most recent being The unhaunting (Salt, UK 2009) and Impossible Preludes (Margaret River Press, 2016). After living in Adelaide, then Perth, for many years, he now divides his time between Sydney and Wiesbaden in Germany.

Lizz Murphy writes between Binalong NSW and Canberra ACT. She has published thirteen books. Her eight poetry titles include Shebird (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro; Ginninderra) and Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex). She writes in a variety of styles from prose poetry to micropoetry and this year is working on a new full length manuscript titled The Wear of My Face. She is the instigator of Postcards from the Sky an art & text living studio and exhibition program at Belconnen Arts Centre, and is the current Canberra Times Poetry Editor.

Admission$10 waged, $5 unwaged, collected just before the reading starts at 7 p.m. in the Graduate Lounge of ANU’s University House (1 Balmain Crescent, Acton). Meals are available without bookings in the brasserie downstairs from 5/30 pmParking at University House is best from Garran Road and on Balmain Lane off Balmain Crescent.
Bookings via

Photo of Binalong's Mt Bobbara skyline May 9, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Carmel Summers (Canberra) Tricia Dearborn (Sydney) Marianne Boruch (USA)
'It's a superb lineup of three great poets and definitely not to be missed,' Hazel Hall, MCH Poetry Coordinator.

April 25, 2019 at 7.00 for 7.30 pm Manning Clark House 11 Tasmania Circuit Forrest ACT. 
$10 entry includes nibbles and wine and door prizes. 

Carmel Summers Canberra
Camel Summers writes technical manuals in the daytime and poetry at night and wishes it was the other way around. She's had poetry published in journals in Australia and overseas and been shortlisted for poetry prizes including The Blake, Glen Phillips, Adrian Abbott and Magic Oxygen (UK). Carmel’s latest book, The last day before snow: An invitation to travel won the 2017 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for poetry.

Tricia is an award-winning Sydney poet. Her third collection, Autobiochemistry, is just out from UWA Publishing. Her poetry has been featured in significant anthologies including Contemporary Australian Poetry, Australian Poetry since 1788 and The Best Australian Poems. She will be appearing at Poetry on the Move 2019 and is a judge of this year’s University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize.

Marianne is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of English at Purdue University, West Lafayette. She’s visiting Australia as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at UC to write a series of poems on Australian wildlife. Marianne is fascinated by Australian history, especially Aboriginal stories and records of the first Western contact with the wildlife. She has published 11 collections of poetry. Her most recent works are The Anti-Grief, Copper Canyon Press, (forthcoming 2019), Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing, Copper Canyon Press, 2016 and Cadaver, Speak, Copper Canyon Press, 2014.

Thank you to poet Hazel Hall for this information and for her grand contribution to poetry. Btw photo from my garden — not Manning's :)


Marie MacMillan (Sydney) opens the open mike!

That Poetry Thing! that's on Monday Nights at Smith's, Smiths Alternative, 76 Alinga Street Civic ACT
Had the best time at That Poetry Thing! on Monday night. Apart from stunning poets Sarah St Vincent Welch and Anna Couani and their book launches, there were good performances in the open mic session, starting with Marie MacMillan and her entertaining acronym tongue twister. Thanks to the team of poets who keep this lively program happening every week. See below for programmed features over the next few weeks or visit (and thank you to poet Hazel Hall for including this info in her own mail-outs).
15 April
Featuring a reading from Behrouz Boochani’s award-winning No Friend but the Mountains. Special guests. Silent auction. For a donation, read your own poem or another poet’s on themes of exile, expatriation, border crossings, transposition & assimilation. 

For Easter Monday, a pair of NSW poets both published by University of Western Australia Press. Sydney's Richard James Allen introduces his new collection The short story of you and I, while Newcastle's Steve Armstrong presents poems from his debut Broken Ground.
$10/$5 on the door. Open mic.

Tricia Dearborn will launch her third collection Autobiochemistry (UWA Press). Tricia has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. She is on the editorial board of Plumwood Mountain an online journal of ecopoetry.

Gregory Piko's writing has appeared widely. His awards include joint first place in the WB Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia and first prize in the New Zealand International Haiku Competition. Gregory collaborated with Vanessa Proctor from Sydney in writing Blowing Up Balloons: baby poems for parents (Red Moon Press).
$10/$5 on the door. Open mic.

$10/$5 on the door. Open mic.

13 May — Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry Night

That Poetry Thing! starts off with a diverse open mike — 
PS Cottier adds her voice

Robyn Sykes (Binalong) performs her poem from the exhibition Bimblebox: 153 Birds

Writers Tip: 
Make use of those open mikes to test your voice, hone reading or performance skills, get your work known.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Sarah St Vincent Welch talks about her new book OPEN

Had the great pleasure of launching OPEN by Sarah St Vincent Welch at That Poetry Thing! that's on at Smith's every Monday Night, this week. 

Sarah and I met properly in 1991. I’d noticed this interesting writer and was keen for her to submit to a book I had on the go, and she had already picked up the leaflet and wanted to know more about it. Thanks to this and an opportune moment, we had a wonderful getting-to-know-you conversation — on a Canberra kerb’s edge, as speeches came to an end, other Gulf War protesters swirled and parted, and some lay abreast the length of the road holding large placards for a photoshoot. Sounds like a metaphor ...

Sarah is a writer on the edge, observing, witnessing and — just as often in the midst of it — experiencing. She is one of the most poetic prose writers I know, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her short stories in print along with her award-winning unpublished novel. Meanwhile it’s exciting to see a volume of poetry from her, and I have no doubt it is the first of many.

Open is not a large volume, yet it holds so much of a life. We meet significant people including the poet’s son Lawrence and the poet’s husband Dylan — both loved as much as Sarah — and the poet’s mother Molly too. In Archaeology of Gardens Sarah still observing, digs and cuts back while her mother watches: ‘from the high window/as I watered our garden in summer/you let me be lost in my dreams, this better place/the best place I could be, and I think you knew …

There are poems that are dreamlike and poems as surreal as dreams.  There are poems that take the everyday world and make it other-worldly. In 821.3 in old Civic Library she builds a world for the reader from what goes on inside and out — I’ll read an excerpt from the beginning:

Look through the darkness
of light-sensitive glass
at the interchange
the missed connections,
takeaways and deals

Hold your sweat wet
call slip, and watch

while the infirm wait
for a kneeling bus …

It’s an unsettling poem —the sense that one move out of step and everything will come tumbling down. You feel a butterfly somewhere move its wing.

I heard it explained on TV that the reason tenors are so popular is because we can actually feel the voice in our bodies. I thought that’s a bit fascinating. Then one night in the heat of a Sydney summer I was standing in a circle of people at an exhibition opening, holding an open bottle of water against me. When the MC began the formalities in his beautiful tenor speaking voice it vibrated through the bottle into my hand and through my body.

Sarah as you may have noticed is not a tenor … but the tenor of her writing voice is such that it enters you, it holds you, it holds on to you.

Melinda Smith MC Extraordinaire
Anna Couani reads from her new collection Thinking Process also launched on the night

Friday, April 05, 2019


As eclectic as always, the first Brush with Poetry for the year saw poets reading or reciting works that were comedic, socially current, traditional, descriptive, personal, punchy. Poets came from Binalong, Bungendore, Canberra, Tumut, Yass, Young. Almost forty people soaked up the atmosphere in Café on Queen's studio space with its timber and tin, antique pressed metal and picturesque aspects. Whether you are a new writer or an old hand, this is a welcoming performance space and shared mike. Song and music also encouraged. Last Sunday of odd months at 2.00 pm. Arrive early to place orders from the delectable menu of brunches, lunches, snacks and desserts. (BYO daytime.) Huge thanks to café hosts Jan Giles and Curly Sykes. And of course to Robyn Sykes for keeping A Brush with Poetry going. Gregory Piko will be back as co-MC in May. Jacqui Malins is the featured poet in July.

Brush Coordinator and co-MC Robyn Sykes (left) and the entertaining Ted Webber

Jeff Brown makes his harmonica sing (local Billy Arabin in the background)

The crowd enjoying Jeff's wonderful performance — in particular the live-wire poet Leigh Brown (centre)

Peter Rose of Yass, a knock-out on any stage

Poet and artist Jennifer Kemarre Martinello reads new work from the Postcards from the Sky project
Appreciation as always, for Lindsay Thompson ... and Café on Queen centre-stage cake

Robyn Sykes with her tumble of rapturous rhymes (in the background Sandra Renew, 
co-Editor of Not Very Quiet)

A Brush with Poetry is a Binalong Arts Group event.

Thursday, April 04, 2019


Congratulations to Jeanine Leanne on being awarded the Red Room Poetry Fellowship for 2019. The judges said: '... Jeanine Leane’s poetic project stood out in its incisive clarity and integrity as well as its cultural and political resonance.' 

Jeanine's project is titled: ‘Voicing the Unsettled Space: Rewriting the Colonial Mythscape.’ Jeanne Leanne is a powerful voice and I look forward to the outcomes. You can read more here.

The Red Room fellowship is a fantastic package including a $5000 stipend, a $1000 commission, two weeks at Bundanon Trust, workshops and a public address. The next application opportunity is in December.

For more on Red Room Poetry click here. Their vision is: to make poetry a meaningful part of everyday life. They have an impressive and imaginative history of projects, commissions and community partnerships. 

Friday, March 15, 2019


Postcards from the Sky has been running at the Belconnen Arts Centre since early February. Your last chance to see this art & text exhibition is this weekend but the good news is you could also catch the last talks and poetry readings. Be there Sunday at 2 pm for PS Cottier, Hazel Hall, Kathy Kituai, Chris Mansell (tbc), Melinda Smith. The topic is Living the Studio. They'll also share poetry related to the exhibition theme. 

The exhibition has been a fabulous success with visitors fully engaging with the poetry as well as the visual aspect of the diverse works. Above is Melinda Smith's Orion as a woman unhelped by White Ribbon (foreground). It was terrific to have Wollongong artist Michele Elliot (below) here for the opening — in the flesh after many weeks of online collaboration. Postcards from the Sky (main foyer) opened together with Gaia Hypothesis (main gallery) on February 8. Over 200 people attended including Canberra installation artist Cheryl Jobsz (seated left). Just behind her you can see someone using speech time to read Chris Mansell's suspended postcards where Sky has sent handwritten messages to humanity. The Living Studio continued throughout the exhibition with extra artists and writers joining in. More on that later.

Here I am with Michele Elliot and our Skylines collaboration
Over 200 people at the dual openings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


In the day blackjay
just ahead In the night
Corvus somewhere
above So many stories
Perched on a shoulder
whispering in an ear
Fallen bird Soul from
the sky Who was your 
message for Will they 
see it in the stars

Lizz Murphy

skylines treetops
blue day heat
wing flutter
I’m flagging

Michele Elliot


and a misshapen platform to land on

the lightest touch
  heart tremble

  Michele Elliot 

The moon wanes stars fade

I’m convinced I am on track

find my ankles swathed in stripped bark

resort to torchlight find my bearings

I have roamed westward pulled up before

ploughing into a broadening eucalypt

I right wheel and a Froglet

risks a leap across my path

and even tonight with

the new moon surprisingly golden

stars rampant in all directions

singing me from dark to dark

still I cannot read the sky

Lizz Murphy