Lizz Murphy


I remember when my first Press Press chapbooks arrived and thinking-how could so much poetry be squeezed into such a tiny space? Yet Chris Mansell manages this with flair and imagination and I can see how she must find Lizz Murphy’s poems so right for her special format-they are minuscule snippets of wit, social comment and observation. Lizz has a new title, Shebird coming out with the same small press in 2016.

Lizz’s Six Hundred Dollars appealed to me not only because of its spooky cover but because of her range of subjects from dingoes to girls sold for the sex trade. Lizz strikes me as someone with compassion and sympathy; concerned with the marginalised and also the strangeness of the Australian landscape. She is very energetic in the poetry world and whilst I’ve never met her in person, I have come to know something about her and her dedication to the life of the poem and to the encouragement of poets, once again through the wonders of social media. My Christmas poet is Lizz Murphy. Happy holiday!




Driving home the sky bleeds for me A blue
scrape through dusk  gun metal clouds forming
into long rolls  Between each layer a lit fuse a
blood red score  electric  in my lived body

In the blue of her bathroom a girl with a blade
edge against the inside of her forearm where
the skin is finest Her held breath the raspberry
release  electric  through her mute body

— first published Shot Glass  Journal (US) 2014


Makeshift shelter

No latrines for girls
No protection for girls
Makeshift night

— first published The Wonder Book of Poetry 2014



She lays on hands  prays by her child  her only child  bears
forth an unforeseen healing Afterwards  the cure spurned
feared   the mother spurned feared This dangerous woman
abandoned  by her family  stands on a front doorstep  alone

— first published Verity La 2014



I am a slave to the cocoa bean
So too the children who harvest it


 — first published Right Now: Human Rights in Australia 2014

The above poems are from the forthcoming collection Shebirds (PressPress)




— from the collection Portraits: 54 poems (PressPress 2013)


And a longer poem I sneaked in from your blogspot, Lizz, written for Bimblebox, a touring exhibition, 153 Birds curated by Jill Sampson as part of the Bimblebox Art Project documenting the Bimblebox Nature Refuge under threat from coal mining http//


Accipiter fasciatus

I am beguiled by the yellow
of your eye  the bright pierce of it
You skirring overhead
wrists pushed forward
Me looking up
into the blue squint
You more interested in luckless burrowings
at my feet  than in my hollowing thoughts
In the mottled unwelcome sparrow or the
black and white flash of the strenuous magpie
Your frowning steel grey smudges into rufous
the colour of   turned earth   or dried blood
Menace clips at my elbows
Fear loops deep in my belly
Its last
wretched beak clap
Your strike
that thud
My shudder
I am plucked half bare


Lizz Murphy has published twelve books. Her seven poetry titles include Portraits: 54 Poems and Six Hundred Dollars (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro Press), Stop Your Cryin (Island Press) and Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex Press print and e-book). Shebird will be published by PressPress. Lizz is a member of Australian Poetry Ltd, ACT Writers Centre and Binalong Arts Group Inc.

Lizz Murphy: A Poet’s Slant

    sc00090751      DSCN0787_3MURPHY Portraits OFC


  • POETRY WORKSHOPS Watch for news of Canberra and Yass Valley workshops by popular facilitator Lizz Murphy in 2016.

WILL RETURN MARCH 2016-A riot of top quality new and published poets and performers from regional NSW and Canberra at the Black Swan Gallery. Shared mike – anything goes. MC/coordinators: Lizz Murphy and Robyn Sykes; mine host: Yvette Gilroy. A Binalong Arts Group (BAG) event. Appropriate donation welcomed.



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