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Liquid Amber Poetry Prize 2023

The Liquid Amber Poetry Prize is back, bigger and better than ever.
First prize is $1000 and second prize $500. An Emerging Poet will win an editing pack with Liquid Amber. Poems on the long list will be published in our annual Anthology. Whoohoo!

This year’s theme is ‘Home’. What place or experiences evoke ‘home’ for you?

What are the textures, colours or relationships that you associate with home? What paths lead to home and how do we find them? What might it mean to find or reclaim home on stolen Country?

Check out our provocations and make a poetic response to the idea of home, in whatever ways your imagination takes you. We’re looking forward to reading your poems!

Entry form and info here: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/2023/01/24/2023-poetry-prize-home/

Open now until 1st May

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Increments of the Everyday available now!

I’m proud and pleased to let you know that my new poetry collection, Increments of the Everyday is now out with Puncher and Wattmann! https://puncherandwattmann.com/product/increments-of-the-everyday/

Join us on Saturday October 29, 2.30-4 at the Newport Community Centre – Anne Elvey to read from her new book Leaf (Liquid Amber) and Angela Costi to launch Increments of the Everyday. An afternoon of celebration of poetry and community! Register here: https://fb.me/e/1WMMknz3D

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Liquid Amber Poetry Prize – Longlist Announced!

Liquid Amber Poetry Prize Long List announced! A terrific range of poets responded to the prompt of Encounter – what happens when one thing touches something or someone else? – and somehow the judges selected 55 poems for the long list and publication.

Like us on fb to hear the announcements of the Short List on September 1, winners on October 1. The Poetry of Encounter: Liquid Amber Prize Anthology will be launched at the December 1 Zoom Poetry so get in early with our great pre-publication deal. Thank you, wonderful poetry community!

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July Poetry zoom, Dominique Hecq’s After Cage

Liquid Amber Press is delighted to publish the second edition of Dominique Hecq’s book of experimental poetry After Cage – a serial composition in word and movement on time and silence.

Join us on 7 July, 7.30pm AEST, for the zoom launch by Marion May Campbell where she will also be in conversation with Dominique about her radical poetics. Don’t miss this special poetry event – a feast of words and ideas both for practicing poets and for all of us listening, reading and thinking about poetry.

As ever, we have a tremendous line-up of open mics including our new ‘poet in the spotlight’ feature.

It’s free! Register here: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/

Liquid Amber July Poetry zoom, Thursday July 7. Open mic + launch of Dominique Hecq's After Cage (2nd edition)
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Review of Lockdown Poetry in Rochford Street Review

We’re really excited to see this terrific review of Liquid Amber’s 2021 anthology Lockdown Poetry: The Covid Long Haul out in Rochford Street Review today. Thanks to Mark Roberts of Rochford Street, Sharon Monagle for the striking cover image and to Belinda Calderone for her thoughtful reading of this collection of wonderful poems from the Liquid Amber poetry community. We are still writing into and out of the strange hiatus we found ourselves in!

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March Poetry Zoom – this Thursday!

Poetry lovers – don’t forget the Liquid Amber March Poetry Zoom coming up this Thursday March 17, 7.30-9.30 AEDT.  Whoohoo! Be part of our growing community of those who love to write and read poetry and those who love to listen to it: We’ve got a great line-up of open mic-ers ready to go + our feature poet Mark O’Flynn is reading from his new book Undercoat: Poems about Paintings, to be launched by Peter Minter. See you there for a great night!

Register here for your free zoom link: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/

What’s the time where you are?? https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

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Join our free March Poetry Zoom!

Register now for the Liquid Amber March Poetry Zoom and be part of our growing community of those who love to write and read poetry and those who love to listen to it: Thursday March 17, 7.30-9.30 AEDT.

We’ve got a great line-up of open mic-ers ready to go + our feature poet Mark O’Flynn is reading from his new book Undercoat: Poems about Paintings, to be launched by leading Australian poet, Peter Minter. See you there for a great night! Sign up here for your free zoom link: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/

What’s the time where you are?? https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

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Liquid Amber Press Poetry Prize 2022 – ENCOUNTER

‘Alchemy,’ © Sharon Monagle 2018

The Liquid Amber 2022 Poetry Prize is now open!

What moments startle us out of our ways of understanding ourselves and the world? What might it mean to encounter the strange skin of the unexpected?

Step out. Take a risk. Write about it.

All poets are invited to join in by exploring the theme ‘The Poetry of Encounter’ – through a provocation of images and words.

Entry form, guidelines and provocation sheet here: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/2022/02/08/2022-poetry-prize-encounter/

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Poetry Zoom March 17, Open Mic and Launch of Undercoat

Detail ‘Orquevaux Village’ with permission Sharon Monagle, 2018

Welcome to another great year of poetry with Liquid Amber Press! If you love writing, reading or listening to poetry across all its wonderful voices, join us for our next free Poetry Zoom : Thursday, 17 MARCH, 7.30-9.30pm AEDT.  Register (free) here to receive the link: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/ . Bring your friends! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our exciting 2022 poetry events and opportunities: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/

Our feature poet in March will be Mark O’Flynn, reading from his new book of poetry Undercoat: Poems about Paintings (Liquid Amber Press, 2022), to be launched by Peter Minter. And if you’re interested in sharing 3 mins of your own work, get on the Open Mic list quickly, by contacting: info@liquidamberpress.com.au

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Poems in Australian Poetry Journal

I’m delighted that two of my poems from these recent plague years have recently appeared in issues of APJ: ‘Online’ in Vol. 9, which explores the often surprising closeness that can come about via zoom conversations; and ‘Year of Breath,’ in Vol 11.1


There is a pocket in the ether

         that holds us

it darts      elusive     around the globe    pressing

into what can be seen

             emerging    into the quiet air of daily

breathing       sometimes our voices

or our faces        find it     and

sometimes what might happen between one

person and another

really happens  

         and sometimes

those smiles      spark

                                      and crackle

in the possibilities of what might

yet happen

there is a pocket in the ether that

     holds us

              it builds slowly in shadow while

you sleep    while I work

while I sleep and you work

through the landscapes of our dreaming

while magpies call into cool autumnal air

while spring unwraps

its bright green flags

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Review of Hannah Kent’s Devotion in ABR

My review of Hannah Kent’s powerful new novel has just come out in the summer issue of Australian Book Review – check it out. Like Kent’s other two novels, it’s about women at the edge – the edge of their own understanding, the periphery of social acceptance, the edge of what we might understand as realism. This is a narrative about traumatic change, persistence and the possibilities – as well as the limitations – of what it might mean to operate from a position of devotion.


Happy summer reading.

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The Hum of Angophora

Angophora Costata is in Christmas flower. This poem, ‘The Hum of Angophora,’ first published in Writ, is coming out in my next collection, Increments of the Everyday, with Puncher and Wattmann in 2022. I hope you enjoy it.

The Hum of Angophora

The low and knotted branches of the Angophora
are laden with blossom the blush
of new tips pushes into daylight like dreams although
last night’s rain weighs heavy and

their fingers droop almost
brushing the bark-strewn grass

noisy and flamboyant wattlebirds and
eastern rosellas move along branchlets
through a community of leaves calling and feeding while

magpies wait thoughtful in foliage watching
the possibilities of the stirring

one year a pair of tawny frogmouths built a platform
in the fork of a branch so that two
downy chicks could sit
waiting out precariousness
while parents
sounding softly into the darkness
returned with morsels until
ravens swooped spilling
the contents of the nest
tree mind holds them this pulse of things that live
and shift
and scatter

the wide and impassive generosity of its branches reach
and arch twist and knot
in filtered sunshine its own world
of space and twig sap and leaf ant
and bee the hum of

things that live and shift
then scatter

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In Virginia Woolf’s life-changing novel, To the Lighthouse, the lighthouse itself – as a geographical, artistic, creative space or idea, is of course never reached. It’s dreamed about, talked about, planned for and Lily Briscoe thinks what it would mean to paint it – but it remains, deliberately, out of reach of the words’ extraordinary ebb and flow. The lighthouse is summoned into imagination but it isn’t owned or held. So I do recognize that as a place of destination, the ‘lighthouse,’ however signified, is by definition never arrived at; indeed it would be a reductive notion to think that such a thing could be achieved. However, I do want to say that when I come up the sandy, salty path that leads out onto the headland to the Griffiths Island lighthouse, my heart lifts in a way I can barely describe. This is a place where, for me, happiness arises, a place of re-centring, where it seems particularly easy to be present, simply, to smell the air, to follow the sea birds skimming the waves. Such an embodied engagement with a place, its powerful ‘here-ness,’ operates as a conduit – not for some transcendent meaning or elsewhereness, but as an experience of being fully awake, body, senses, mind, unfolding in the now. A portal to right here. A gift.

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This Shuttered Eye is launched!

My most recent book of poetry, This Shuttered Eye (Girls on Key 2021) has been launched! Courtesy of Melbourne’s #4 Lockdown we weren’t able to gather in the Open Studio as planned – but we still had an excellent evening on zoom. The book was superbly launched by poet and colleague Anne Elvey to a ‘full gallery’ of poets, friends and family – and some open mic readings added terrific energy and variety to the evening. Thanks to Girls on Key for the event and to the wonderful Michele Seminara who edited the book – a great experience of close reading exchange. Signed copies of the book are available here.

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2020 Shelter in Place Poetry Reading and Artist Talk: A collaborative exhibition of poetry and image

Visual artist Sharon Monagle and I were thrilled to open the exhibition of 2020 Shelter in Place last week and to launch the book of this collaborative project – a beautiful publication by Liquid Amber Press (available at the gallery or available here).

This was a project based in individual and collective/communal responses to the challenges of 2020 – we’d love to have your company to hear me read through the year’s seasons, surrounded by Sharon’s wonderful art work: Saturday May 1, 2-4 at the Kingston G3 Art Space in Parkdale.

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This Shuttered Eye – now available!

J.M.W. Turner ‘Yacht Approaching the Coast’

This Shuttered Eye – now available from Girls on Key here

I’m pleased to let you know that feminist/inclusive press Girls on Key Poetry are publishing my next book, This Shuttered Eye in 2021. Thanks Anna Forsyth and team! This is a book clustered around the experience of looking – of paying attention to the natural world as well as the world of visual art (hence the Turner image) – and what might happen when that external world, or canvas, or text… is mediated through our own point of view. The eye of perception and interpretation: shuttered, opening, closing, letting in and making sense of.

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Poetry and Music

Thanks to Anne Elvey and Plumwood Mountain for publishing my review of Martin Langford’s new collection of poetry and prose, Eardrum: poems and prose about music (Puncher and Wattman, 2019). A topic that’s very close to my heart!

Here’s a poem of mine which also works to find the shared language of music and poetry:


This is the nature of things           this dense fabric

           of sound

these threads of what thrums              true

                       in my sternum            call it melody

the simultaneity of harmony           where threads of pitch or

             timbre might            intersect                   surfaces tumbling and

touching each other         notes that lean close       then

          yearn apart        suspended      shimmering      somehow

held together                           here is     


marshalled      for a short time      in the generosity

                       of what is beautiful       

cradled              in the phrasing of an idea

           this pattern                 a language that strikes

or glides          or quivers        reverberating

                    through bodies     or wood     or silver       the hollowed bellows

of its making                scribed on air

         this is the way the world turns           the recurring question

of depth     its opaque archaeologies   finding

             the updraft         the prospect of

ocean           unbearability

of the falling away

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Old Water Rat Publishing brings you: burrow

My dear friend Phillip Hall has, with Jillian Hall, just published the first issue of the e-journal burrow.

I’ve been fortunate enough for them to publish a pandemic poem of mine ‘Unleavened: Easter 2020.’ What do we hang on to in such a time of loss and dislocation? And yet there is a persistence, a desire to continue; Easter is one way of telling that story.

Have a read: https://oldwaterratpublishing.com/unleavened-easter-2020/

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Moods: More poems in response to the pandemic

This pair of poems – two faces of response to the pandemic we are living through – has just been published in Mensicus literary journal. https://www.meniscus.org.au/Vol8Iss1.pdf. Thanks to Jen Webb and Shane Strange.

Pandemic Moods

1.      Anxiety

clutches               like a virus

at surfaces         the warm vulnerability

of membranes                               it hangs

heavy in air

droplets of contagion     impossible

to see   chasing at shadows

              filling my time   frantic

with the wrong things

or maybe the wrong things         I can’t

tell         presentiments of doom

weigh on me                    a vice that grips

like a headache

something is proliferating          

a wild cacophony            pounding

at the fragile borders of this body

                             seeking its own path

trying to get in

2. Compassion     

is a tall tree

a searching filigree of roots              a steadiness that

reaches               risky      into changeable air         while

leaves   like open palms       signal

to a restless world

I see you

and it’s possible to

rest here            a short time

in the deep pulse            and dance of      shadow

grass     sweet    with summer rain

under the arch of my arms

this        flickering            cathedral of green

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On Mother’s Day

Val Lucas 1922-2013

In remembrance of my dear mother – and in acknowledgement of the complex work of mothering.

You came back

             she said     her hands

fluttering around her face      abroad   in the air

between us        they are brittle wings unfolding     in that scrubbed

corridor       when she looks up from her wheelchair    suddenly   

ecstatic            weeping                   you   came back

from where?   I come out of the day

flurried    my own worn hands    catching

hers     stroking        I will always

come back    to sit close    to walk quiet streets together

under plane trees       their generous leaves

until I remember     how I first left her   flush

with the hubris of youth     and how she stood on the nature strip

vulnerable      trying not to touch me      or hold me     just asking

me to come home          but I went     anyway   my face

turned    resolutely   in a different direction

it was years    too many     before

I looked back      properly   before I saw her      a good person

living her life     tending hydrangeas   cradling

generations of children      moving

like all of us           through uncertainty and pleasure

toward the always unexpected      dark fields       this slow

drift into clouded water  

  I came back      just

as she unmoored 

this island        this fragile

territory                              where I have always been

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Between home and the further world

This poem, published as ‘Further, or Autumn Isolation 2020,’ has now been published in Text journal, special issue 58, The in/completeness of human experience.

Somewhere around early April we travelled down to our weekender to bring supplies to our daughter who was in quarantine there after returning from overseas. Coming out of the cocoon of home, I was almost surprised to see that the beautiful balmy world of autumn was still out there, patiently waiting for us, maybe wondering what we’d be like when we emerged and re-entered it.


Isolation in Melbourne: April 2020

‘I love our house…It’s probably a bit of a dump to some or a castle to others, but for me it’s a light-filled container full of people I love.’ Sarah Watt[1]

The sanctity of this         marked out        space

this collective turning             inwards

 the quiet comfort of walls                        angle of stair

our bed    creaking    as we turn

ripening of garden figs in afternoon light or

voices   drifting down a corridor –

while     streaming away              like photons dissolving in air

the further world                    still lies

              bemused      and utterly beautiful

beneath a creamy sun  

its fields and stony

rises    streets and verandahs                    all tipped

skywards            and slipping

gently    from summer’s ferocious grip

waiting for us –      as though

through a frosted pane

              we had never really seen it before

rolling out its     carpets of recurrent green

never stood amongst the low     thrumming

of unfolding seasons      or travelled

its wide and gusting territories                 of shift

and hold             and shift

[1] Sarah Watt and William McInnnes, Worse Things Happen at Sea: Tales of life, love, family and the everyday beauty in between,’ Hatchette, 2011, p.244.

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Of fear, death and life

This season of easter and of passover comes in the middle of the corona virus pandemic. Apart from the sad fact that, as in Narnia, all holidays are cancelled, it’s not a bad time to think about these narratives and traditions which concern the human relation to death and our persistent desire to somehow overcome it. It is a relationship certainly characterised by anxiety and grief; yet, at our best, we can glimpse the possibilities of change and acceptance, those small transformations of shift and slip.

Easter, during the Pandemic


like an egg into a pan

              its yellow eye &    spill

of visceral white


this seasonal story          of catharsis

  hurricane of catastrophe     beating

                             on this bowed back

one human body      



& hammered            until it is

a vanishing point             of fall    & grief     of where

the splintered edges can never be made


                             no going back     only

ahead      where Lazarus slides        without reprieve  

into inexorable death      the heavy curtain

of descending quiet –

a first morning                 unspeakable    &

then a second

at last a third &                        life creaks on

jolting us forward

              awkward            scarred

into the only world                       possible

its narrow frame

its flickers of meaning

              our persistent   hearts

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If you stop – and look carefully – what will you see?

‘Woolsthorpe Manor,’ copyright Pauline Brightling 2012

1666. Bubonic plague devastates London and Isaac Newton retreats to his family home at Woolsthorpe Manor. Self-isolation, long months of being in close quarters, no external stimulus – just the quiet world around him and the rising, creative life of the mind. Quite a combination as it turned out.

What can you see, what new constellation of elements – as the noise and frenzy of the great world slows, as the quietness of garden, autumn sunlight, the passing of hours, comes inexorably into view?

First published in Plumwood Mountain, a poem from my second collection Unexpected Clearing (UWAP 2016) – certainly more prescient than I could have known.

What Isaac Newton Saw

At Woolsthorpe Manor,

his childhood home,

the famous apple tree –

                     or perhaps its latter-day descendent,

a gracious Maid of Kent –

still droops its gnarled arms toward the

clottedness of earth,

giving up its wormed and floury fruit to the grass,

to the possibilities of turbulent

and muddy transformation:

Outwitting the plague, he sat for seasons in his quiet house,

its losses and constraints,

the drabness of its close routines;

almost a poet,

he watched

with such stillness and


and restlessness –

the quiet world unfolding in his garden;

an ordinary miracle that needs a different eye to see it,

           a new tilt of the head, or sudden mood of

equanimity that allows leaves to rustle,

branches to brush the lawn,

a bird to move discretely and even

          try out some autumnal singing –

each thing 

sifting into


judged   or


until an apple simply

 falls –

a muscular movement of energy,

and chance –

and a new constellation of elements



into view.

For more on Isaac Newton in the time of plague, see the UK National Trust: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolsthorpe-manor/features/year-of-wonders

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Poetry in the time of corona virus

Under the Wave off Kanagawa: A Poetose Notebook (100 pages/50 ...

Dear friends, we are entering the strangest and most challenging of tunnels. These last few weeks I know that I, along with everyone else, has been frantic – trying to mentally catch up to what this pandemic means, even as it keep changing, scrambling to recreate my working life from home, trying hard to manage the rising anxiety and its different manifestations, reaching out to the people I love.

Poetry has been on the back burner amidst all this. But I thought about Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (a whole year??) and thought I would try and record some of my thoughts and reflections during this unprecedented time. Please follow the blog – tell me what you’re thinking, respond to what I’m able to put out there. Let’s converse.

As we move into this uncertain time, here’s a poem from my second book Unexpected Clearing (UWAP 2016), ‘Under the Wave’, that speaks to both the risk and the possibility of such a dive:

Under the Wave

Slipping under the wave –

that space where even sand

might settle,

          unswirled, where

the turbulence that rakes at the roots of your hair

          filling it with grit,

                     yanking it back toward the wildness of the surface,

a kind of reverse gravity,

might yet,   like the hand of god,   pass over you –

slip under the wave,

you know its towering confluence of tide and wind,

the crushing hammer of its foamy fist;

watch, where the form of your flailing, human body,

with all its intricacies of angle and organ,

might turn its fins in this mottled light,

negotiating an ancient element –

slip under the wave,

make for the sky.

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Outback Bowser, 1970: new poem in Westerly 64, 1

‘Listen to the Stories Woven Around us,’ by Brooke Collins-Gearing. Cover image

It’s a great honour to be included in the most recent issue of Westerly. This poem takes me back to my own childhood, to long trips to Queensland up inland New South Wales roads – and the figure of my beloved father, always and still just at the periphery of my vision.

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Thrilled to be in Plumwood Mountain 6,2 Intersecting Energies

A bit of a bonanza for me in this edition of Plumwood Mountain, thanks to Managing Editor the indefatigable Anne Elvey

My review of Louise Crisp’s beautiful, many-layered walk through different country.
My poem on Mount Elephant/Djerrinallum
A privilege to also review Judith Beveridge’s new collection – familiar friends and new poems

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The Sky Falls Down Melbourne Launch

I was thrilled to be part of the amazing collection, The Sky Falls Down: An Anthology of Loss (Ginninderra Press), edited and lovingly curated by Terry Whitebeach and Gina Mercer. It was launched yesterday in Melbourne by Carrie Tiffany (having already been launched in Hobart).

The book is available through Ginninderra Press or at Readings in Hawthorn, where it was launched.

As Mary Oliver put it, ‘Loss is the great lesson:’ if we’re going to be open to loving we need to learn how to be open to and manage loss. The diverse contributions in this Anthology I think are all ways of struggling with this great lesson of being human.

My contribution was a poem about the ongoing experience of loss – written on the five year anniversary of the death of my father:

 Five years and still
Five years –
and still there are days when
I want to pick up the phone and
call you;
time seeps by,
and though grief
          loosens its cruelest hooks
I remain bereft,
perplexed –
where are you?
Are you still sitting at your computer
tapping out the stories of your life –
          the boy in the Queensland bush,
                     the young man stationed
in Darwin,
poring over radar?
Or will I see you
coming into the kitchen –
          a cup of tea in the offing –
joining us around the table,
the arc of your arms
wiry and strong?
And if I could get a line
          through to you –
what would I say?
The children are growing,
I left my job,
the old cracks in the family
widen and groan like
lathe and plaster in the drought –
I admit we are all
without you.
Most of all,
I would ask you to
come home –
it’s enough now,
come back –
And here it is again:
the persistence of that old,
 mad dream of
when the patience of mourning,
the gratitude
for all the rich
          love you left amongst us –
gives way
to the shocking
need for the miracle:
the past
                     intact and
in the broad palms of your sun-tanned hands.

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Women, Work and Wandering Poetry Reading

I had great fun on the weekend reading at this festival event: thanks to a wonderful and receptive audience for making this such a enriching experience.

Here I am -in black and white and in colour – reading amongst some of the terrific art works!

I think maybe the most enthusiastically received poem was ‘Clothesline’ – a poem that comes from my book, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013). It’s a little window both into the pleasures of doing laundry and the possibilities for that interstitial moment , when we see the ordinary in a different way:


To walk between the brightly coloured flags

of washing –

to gently stroke the fall

of drying fabric,

rearranging peg and angle

so that every fold

might find the fullness of the summer air;

to smell the hard-won clarity of


rising crisp and warm in the sun –

is to find a sweet hiatus in the day,

a moment

in the linearity of task and achievement  –

in case you’re wondering,

this is not masochism,

or some throwback to the rigidity

of ancient roles:

instead, listen –

a faint hum amongst the tomato plants and

the marigolds and

it is possible to hear this

humble poetry of the backyard,

this ceremony of daily love –

gathering, sorting,


ready –

for the rich harvest of the basket.

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Poetry Reading: Women, work and wandering…

Is there ever a straight path forward? What happens when we wander in the so-called weeds, a ramble of body and ideas?

I’ll be giving a poetry reading on Saturday July 6, 2pm at the No Vacancy Gallery in the QV centre, as part of the women, work and wandering festival. This is a free event, but you do need to register.

It would be tremendous to see you there.

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Walt Whitman in the Hospitals of the Civil War

As many of you will know, it’s just recently been the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth – that amazing American poet of teeming cities, meditations on life and loving, and of course that great and terrible experience of the Civil War. My poem, selected for this celebratory collection, Endlessly Rocking (ed Stan Galloway and Nicole Yurcaba), takes as its point of reference, the figure of Whitman as he travelled to the hospitals of the Civil War, horrified by the scale of the suffering and spectacle and beauty of so many violently damaged young men.

The poem is dedicated not only to Whitman himsef, that ‘bewhiskered emissay,’ but to my friend, fellow writer and Whitman -o-phile, Lindsay Tuggle.

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Impossible: a mourning cycle

This is from a cycle of poems written in memory of my dear young friend, Sophie Ellis. This particular poem is for her mother, my dear friend Kerry.

Detail from Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ (1488-89), St Peter’s Basilica


For Kerry Dawson

Lay her here,
heavy as stone
across my shoulder, breast, the generosity of lap;

I long for this weight

Let the cataract of her hair fall
over my arms, across my face,
covering my eyes:

Child of my blood and sinew,
beloved daughter of my dreaming,
turn your face toward me
here, into the crook of my neck;

I have shielded you before:

And in the hollows of the night when
my arms lie useless and
desperate for you –

then lean against me again,
returned to me on this crushing
tide of longing,
scooped out of darkness –

be present and
beside the persistent beating of my heart.

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Another Sijo from our paddock

Grey Fantails

On the rise in the middle             paddock, grey fantails twirl and

arabesque through morning air dense   with possibility, catching

the hands of the leaves and the light and our                    patient attention.

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Drifting….with Mary Oliver

I wrote this paper a few years ago now in Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledges – but I’ve been returning to this ‘epistemology of wandering’ as evoked so wonderfully by Oliver’s poetic.

Ramble! Enjoy!

‘Drifting in the Weeds of Heaven: Mary Oliver and the Poetics of the Immeasurable’


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Experimenting with Sijo

Last week I did an inspiring workshop with Mark Tredinnick – a whole day dedicated to listening to, writing, thinking and talking about poetry. He introduced us to the form of the Sijo – a kind of Korean version of the haiku. I think I may have taken some liberties with the form, but here is another I wrote today.

Autumn Morning

You don’t have to go far   to feel the kindness of the

Light      to sit in a well of quiet sun beside the rosemary, the

Crush of mown grass, the heaviness of spent lavender    nodding as I pass.

I’m delighted to see a review by Dominique Hecq of my most recent book, This Shuttered Eye, published first by Girls on Key and then by Liquid Amber 2021. Scroll down to p. 24 to read Dominique’s review in Text: https://textjournal.scholasticahq.com/article/35479-text-reviews-april-2022.

With a painter’s deft touch inseparable from an awareness that every brush stroke matters, Rose Lucas’s This Shuttered Eye is a masterclass in the use of telling detail. The eye in the title of the collection looks ‘into the texture of the seen’ (p. 13), seeking ‘deep shades’ and how these are in turn captured by the looker’s ‘shuttered’ gaze, creating a haze between the visible and the invisible. Here the eye is akin to a camera that reveals both studium and punctum in a picture [1]. But here the eye also unshutters the outer and inner worlds as these are filtered through experience and in the process of writing.