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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


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.

Shortlisted for Queensland Poetry Ekphrastic Award

I’m thrilled to be shortlisted in this ekphrastic challenge! Here is Kym Barrett’s luminous image, and my poem which responded to it.

Artist: Kym Barrett
Artist Location: Chatsworth
Medium: oils, mixed media on canvas, 2021
Dimensions: 120 x 4 x 120 cm


After ‘Gateway’ by Kym Barrett

Right here

at the point where grasses thrust
out of a soil bed’s loamy complexity

where the moods of spring rain wend
their way to leaf and bark and mud

the uncurling extension of what grows
rolling like a cat in sunshine

this green doorway into what can only be
sensed where what is in shadow might

lift its breathing head into the permeability of light
clearing a passage right here

this rustle these blades of joy

A great first year for Liquid Amber Press!

It’s been such an exciting inaugural year for us at Liquid Amber Press – getting started, building up a wonderful community with our Poetry Zooms, and publishing high quality anthologies, monographs and collaborative projects. I’m really proud and pleased to part of such an innovative poetry endeavour. Support poetry publishing in Australia and check out some of our terrific titles for festive gifts! 🙏


On the rise leading up to the dam   

                its dense clumps of reed

stirring gently in mud  

in amongst the stand of black wattles and soft

                       grey-green haze of spindly

melaleuca           a mob

of cockatoos     maraud      from tree to

           tree            ripping at bark         burrowing

for insects    laughing and

chattering       shrieking bandsaws

            in the early spring sunlight       that

catches at sap       shimmers

leaves          their bodies     are large

            black sails         flapping and swinging     between

branches    they rise   together

calling into crispness            the pungent blue

                     vivid yellow flashing in

lift of stately wing      stirring up small

grey fantails       as they go  

          twirling and diving        

                         in puffs of ruffled air

Thanks to Phillip Hall and Jillian Hall for publishing this poem in Burrow (September 2021)

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.

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.

2020 Shelter in Place: Opening and Launch next Thursday April 15,6-8

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A reminder that 2020 Shelter in Place kicks off next week at the G3 Gallery in ParkdaleA series of cross-media responses to the various intensities of last year, 2020 Shelter in Place is a collaborate exploration in poetry and paint. from me and visual artist Sharon Monagle. Please also note that you will need to register for your free ticket via the links below (to meet Covid-safe requirements).

We would love to see you at the Opening of the exhibition and Launch of the book of the project (Liquid Amber Press) next Thursday April 15, 6-8, and/or at the Poetry Reading and Artist Talk, Saturday May 1, 2-4.

Opening of exhibition and launch of book, Thursday April 15, 6-8

Poetry Reading and Artist Talk, Saturday May 1, 2-4

We’re really looking forward to sharing our work with you!

Rose’s Poetry News March 2021

Hi everyone,
As we all know, 2020 was certainly a rough ride in many ways. However, for me it was also a very productive time both in terms of my own poetry practice and my collaborations with visual artist Sharon Monagle – even if some of those collaborations were via technology!

2021 is now seeing the culmination of that work, with the recent publication of my latest book of poetry plus a forthcoming exhibition with Sharon.

I’m really proud of my new collection, This Shuttered Eye – all
about looking at the world of nature, of art and of human
interactions – and how we are shaped by those acts of
engagement, the shutterings of the imagination’s eye
Available here from Girls on Key Press.

I would also like to announce an exhibition of conversations in poetry and paint, 2020 Shelter in Place, and invite you to attend one or both of our events:

  • the Opening of the Exhibition on Thursday April 15 (launched by poet Anne M. Carson) and

The book of the exhibition (Liquid Amber Press) will be available at the Gallery – as will the book of the collaborative project Sharon and I did before the onset of Covid-19, Who do I think I am?

We hope to see you there!


2020 Shelter in Place: Poetry and Paint in Conversation

My new collaborative exhibition, 2020 Shelter in Place with visual artist Sharon Monagle, opens at the Kingston G3 Gallery Space in Parkdale. Emerging from the realities of ‘friendship in isolation,’ these conversations in poetry and paint track us through that strange year.

  • Opening and Launch by poet Anne M. Carson, 6-8pm Thursday April 15.
  • Interactive Poetry Reading and Artist Talk, 2-4pm Saturday May 1

The exclusive book of the project/exhibition (Liquid Amber Press), including both poems and paintings, will be available at the Gallery.

We hope to see you there!