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 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


A small selection of the drawings and collages I've been doing recently as part of a poetry project exploring the fragment genre. There is a whole bunch of them posted on Project 365 + 1. Not too much cutlery - and not a cut edge to be seen.


At my first art class the teacher encouraged us to buy a book of anatomy and to draw and re-draw the human body - from skin in and bone out - spending the week between classes sketching people as skeletons. I had two active children and had no trouble filling books with their small skeletons at play. 
Fast sketching in the street and from the car was more practise in catching the fleeting. In those days I could also remember a face or a character and sketch it well later.  I learnt to make image, to explore colour and to observe. All great tools for writing.
I love the smell of paint (started as a child sniffing freshly painted doors) and to swing a brush and have missed these. From time to time I’ll break out and mess with oil pastels or do a bit of scribbling with pencil or stick & ink. 
A friend gave me a very small book once with plain cream pages and I found myself tearing out text and images and adding my own images and words. Fragments. This (now well thumbed) book eventually became a prose poem called Prayer: Quick & Dirty and was Highly Commended in the 2013 Blake (sorry - I've mentioned this before - and before!). A few pages from the book – or as it turned out an early draft of the poem – are below. The captions are related fragments from the poem.

This is the catalyst for a manuscript I've been slowly shaping up and hope to find time to focus on (see previous posts). The poem can be found at the Blake Prize website. Oh no it can't. Seems the website may be no longer. Hmmm.

Listen   quick and dirty    eight orange stars   

a vest like a/raffle ticket

His raven eye fitly set   wounds  Your takeaway face ...

... him and his raspberry insult   cobbles/burled by the currents   smooth grey pigeons

... peel back the pages you/will see her porcelain skin is broken china

... crushed to coal  a black slide  their slippers a queue of teeth

... lays her eggs in mud bottles  distinguishes the character of/her young   like some small miracle

Yesterday's journey an/arc of stiletto red under the monotone of stricken evening

the old Singer up on its brawny legs humming   Its running stitch/its rapid tacking  chronicles this place

... the desert freckled hide ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Visited Insight/Perspective by Clare Peters & Hannah Gason at the Belconnen Arts Centre today. Fascinated by Clare Peters’ sepia and gold text sculptural composites suspended in small glass blocks. Word as object. I like her interest in light as a metaphor for transformation and hope [Peters 2016]. The process described in the catalogue, sounds complex and layered and not unlike making poems.

Hannah Gason’s striking glass panels explore self. She also employs a process of layering: ‘planes of layered translucent imagery that I then dissect and reconstruct’ [Gason 2016]. The segments, markings and colours speak to me of lakes, forests and blood.

Insight/Perspective is part of Permeate a group of exhibitions by artists who were recipients of the Emerging Artists Support Scheme (EASS). You have until June 19 to see it.

I like to catch up with EASS awards and related events when I can. EASS is close to my heart – I was the first Coordinator (1989) back in my public relations days at Canberra School of Art (now ANU) and played a large part in establishing the program. 

Friday, May 20, 2016


The 'fragment genre' is something that interests me. I've been busy reading about that and making related poems and some images. Here's a small collage. Love torn edges. There are more images and poems posted on Project 365 + 1 - and many other published poets who are worth visiting for.


Don’t you love it when researching something to find or expand a poem - for example a bird species, the forests in your own region … or bats because both you and a poet friend have had a visit from a furry winged creature – and there is one particularly juicy or unexpected detail that makes you sit up! Or gasp. Or wonder all the more. Or it might come from someone sharing their passion with you or just repeating a bizarre news item. These details can be quite spine tingling. Recently I needed to come up with a poem to post on Project 365 + 1. I’d been thinking about exquisite details and how I’d like to find so many more – and of course the poems they fit into. So for the sake of my deadline I collected together a few I already had handy – a couple I’ve recycled (I confess) and a couple I couldn’t make use of at the time (dammit) – and came up with this draft to post that day (May 19). I must say thank you to Susan (bees and honey) and Leanne (python story). Here's the draft poem:

Monday, March 21, 2016


I am delighted with the discipline of Project 365 + 1. Every day writing something. Keeping that writing muscle exercised and most importantly practising the practice of observation.

No matter what else is going on I have to go find a poem. Of some sort. I am taking a few moments to look closely at leaves, to examine grasses and weeds (I do love them) and to pay attention to what is going on around me. It’s a form of mindfulness – bonus. We’re driving a lot and the whole time I am on the look out for a bird of prey above or something wily on the side. They always catch my interest but more than ever I am trying to catch a poem too.

Some days it’s an average haiku (can the world bear it), often it’s a micropoem and sometimes a small prose poem. I love micropoetry and prose poetry so that’s fine. There are found poems from newspaper headlines for a bit of fun (on desperate days). Some will work up to something down the track and occasionally one crops up that is not bad at all. The not-bad-at-alls make the effort worth it and keep me going. The connection with this community of poets and artists also keeps me going.

There’ll be a shift and I’ll be able to give time to the research-based poems I’m hankering after. Meanwhile here’s an observation or two.

 Previously posted on Project 365 + 1 and 
the associated blog The Wonder Book of Poetry.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


It’s the grappling that I like. Under pressure the grappling shows some days. The desperate scratch at an idea or an image. The obvious rush at a photograph to start the words or to embellish words already found.

My Poem 44 on Project 365 + 1 is an attempt to capture the butterfly or moth which greeted me that night. It’s striking markings it’s graceful moves. How not to say wings ... How not to say flutter or even wave. How to reflect on time spent around colour music dance (Canberra's Multicultural Festival).

you dance  wings moving
 like islanders’ hands
your ochre belly