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:

What’s the time where you are??

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:

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: . Bring your friends! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our exciting 2022 poetry events and opportunities:

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:

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

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.

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)