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 Basically it's a matter of sending up to three unpublished poems, maximum 28 lines, to canberra[dot]times[dot]poetry[at]gmail[dot]com preferably in one attachment — but please read the full updated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.


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.