Head shot_Black jumper_Julie Maclean

Hi! Thanks for visiting. I’m an Anglo-Australian writer from Bristol, UK, living on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia. In a former life I was a teacher of English, Drama and EAL. My poems, short fiction and reviews have appeared in The Best Australian Poetry, Poetry Foundation, BODY Literature, Shearsman, Southerly, Island, FLASH (UK and US), Overland, Cordite Review, Poetry Salzburg, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Rabbit Poetry, The Antigonish Review, Event, The Rialto, The Griffith Review, and Kill Your Darlings, among others.

My latest chapbooks from Pocket Poets (Ginninderra)  travel to remote and exotic parts of Australia in all weathers. Wet Zone (sensuous and watery), Spirit, (the ghosts of lutruwita/Tasmania), Mirage (a Journey to Uluru and the Red Heart) and Unsettled (a Journey to the Far North).


Vagina Dentata          after Kilsby’s Sinkhole, South Australia

Sag, Snake, Swallet, Swallow…
How do they avoid it-this heavenly pit lurking beneath desire paths?
Breeding ewes cluster as they lamb and wool
but they don’t fall in.

 Divers canoe the limestone yawn,
drop to John Deere harvesters, bull skulls and barbed wire slung
down this marvellous hole.

Some take time out from iPhones to bask like wobbegongs.
Young soldiers –finned and slippery, nose into tunnels
where algae /moss-to-be/ nibbles patiently, biding its time.

They are lulled.

Sinister minerals from this portal make a womb
fit for a platoon.

Horses put hooves through the green veneer.
A thousand tonnes of rubble make no plug in it.
Boys who would be men drown in it, knowing it’s there.

From Wet Zone, first appeared in Australian Poetry Journal.

Lake Pedder Dilemma

There are times I pike-dive into the eye
of my past—glacial lakes, cirques beckoning

As warriors we nudged moraine out of the way
making moats, castles with flags

Our theatre gleamed in the wash of a wake
jetsam was treasure in our pirate imaginations

These days I seem to be growing gills in almost
every poem— gliding slowly like corralled salmon

no longer upriver       ear pressed to the sound of the now—
white irises opening in the moonlight

wattle birds performing courtship rituals
growling from the high line of my balustrade

From Spirit (ghosts of Tasmania). First appeared in The Antigonish Review (Canada)

Painting Rock Woman Uluru

we snake around her stubborn hulk
pat the sacred skin   scaled as a desert skink,
a red brick wall
crawl into her hydra mouths   leave footprints
on her tongue  with Blundstones
and white runners

she’s winky round the eyes
a kewpie doll pitted with acne
on a fresh cheek
memorial plaques are stapled
to her thighs     Marcia, Brian, Leslie,
George have toppled off these
ancestral slopes    fulfilling lifelong
ambition    ignoring the warning

ants like us don’t creep over her curves today
clouds party with grey haze from Alice fires
it’s windy as hell      the rains have come
frogs clack-clack love calls like music sticks
before the dry sets them hard in red again

for now,   a weeping wet folds a shroud
or bridal veil, a skull tattooed into her back
spinifex sprouts in her sorry cuts
under wide skirts a kindergarten of baby river gums
wild flowers         sweet as newborns’ fingernails
charm us with their pinks, yellows

at sunset she will pose for greedy eyes
we steal her stories,   trawling reservoirs
for sorrow     ghosts swirl about this cathedral

jelly baby dugong dreaming
nose of dolphin caterpillar
grungy steampunk armadillo

we make her ours

From Mirage (Journey to the Red Heart) first appeared in Rabbit.



Up early in our rented Getz
brightly red   pokey on the turns
we cross a Myall Creek   There must be two

Not this one New South Wales 1838
when thirty Wirrayaraay  mums
and bubs, old guys whittling sticks
are bushwhacked into a yard
scorched one by one behind a hill

But this one      sleepy Daintree spot
at the foot of Mt Sorrow    PK’s Jungle Bar
where we drink beer, watch the Ashes
disappear into the new Sony flat screen

Heading south we stop to let
a cassowary dad and fluffy dino babe
walk out to peck the bitumen –roadkill remains

Like the boy section D row 7 of the Port cemetery
Slashed to the bowel by that middle toe
Stabbed by raptor stiletto         Aged sixteen      Dan Mclean    Pupil no 4
Caught in the creek learning his last lesson 

Our cameras focus on the neck
cobalt blue   scarlet wattle

Black gloss of forest demon
trapped in a Canon click

So easy through the lens        

Unsettled (Journey to the Far North). First appeared in Southerly.


When I saw Jimi, my full collection, a memoir of growing up in Sixties Britain, was shortlisted for The Crashaw Prize, Salt, UK, 2012. We were described as ‘major new talents’. It was published as joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, Indigo Dreams Publishing, UK, 2013. 

wisj front (2)

My other chapbooks include: Tango Boleo, (with Avril Bradley) Ginninderra Press, 2019, Lips That Did, Dancing Girl Press, US, 2017, To Have to Follow, (with Terry Quinn), Indigo Dreams, UK, 2016, Kiss of the Viking, Poetry Salzburg, 2014,


You Love You Leave -e-chapbook, Kind of a Hurricane Press, US, 2014. 

Other Stuff

In 2019 a short story The Harry Chair White was shortlisted for Overland’s Fair Australia Prize and in 2020 an essay Wandering Dogs Broken Hearts shortlisted for the Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction. In 2018 I was longlisted in The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition and had two poems highly commended in the 2017 W B Yeats Poetry Prize. In 2017 I won Best Poem in fourWNew Writing 27, Highly commended in 2016. One of my poems How Deep is Your Love was shortlisted for the RedRoom Company New Shoots Project in 2016.

I was one of two poets, in addition to commissioned works, selected for Wandering Words, a chapbook of ekphrastic poems presented at Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy, London, 2014. The winning poem;

A Forest Went to Upton Cheyney for a Walk
After Li Xiaodong, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014

You can’t imagine how
stupid we looked
in the deepest
days of our hiding
My snow past
That day coppiced rods failed
to conceal us in our lust,
fumbling haste
my red fur boots, leaking

We tried to make love
on the snow floor
Coats on, gloves off
in some foolish trance or truce
where leaves had nothing
to do with it
There were none
just see-through see-all sticks
The floor gave way

Our clandestine meetings
on mountains in forests,
everything coursed
melting glaciers
before that sinister front
diffusing what little light was left
made us hurry back to the car,
wet, looking ridiculous

It was later
the ice burned through

As feature poet I’ve appeared in LA Cultural Review, Sundress Best Dressed, US, Tincture, Melbourne Poets Union, Winter Words at Airey’s Inlet, Poetry at the Dan, Melbourne, Damson Poets, UK, on Tania Hershman’s blogspot and Clare Carlin’s Pieced Work.

My work appears in several anthologies including The Result Is What You See Today, (Smith/Doorstop anthology on running, 2019), Best Australian Poetry (UQP), Australian Poetry Journal and AnthologySylvia is Missing (Flarestacks)Heartshoots (Indigo Dreams), fourW New Writing (Booranga Writers)Motherhood, Dance and The Sea (The Emma Press)

I conduct writing workshops, edit poetry and fiction and mentor emerging writers.

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