Lizz Murphy: Stories from the Studio

STA ‘virtually checked-in’ with Lizz Murphy to talk about poetry, inspiration and her recent publication The Wear of My Face by spinifex Press.

Lizz lives and works from her Bush Studio in Binalong and recently received support through the STA Micro Grant program.  

I write about life — the everyday, nature, landscape, skies, suburbia, social issues, world conflict. In my new poetry collection The Wear of My Face (Spinifex Press) the poems often reflect the fragmented nature of contemporary life.

I’ve been working towards my brand new book of poetry, The Wear of My Face which has just been released by Spinifex Press. I’d like to share some of the poems with you…

There is splintered text and image, memory and dream, newscast and conversation, frontlines merging with tourist lines. Place and displacement, women and girls are recurring themes in my work.

Place not only threads through my new book but is also the basis of two projects supported by Southern Tablelands Arts. I was delighted to receive a 2021 Micro Grant to produce a series of micro poems and small art & text works titled This Sweet Spot. Covid has given me a stronger desire to live the local through my creative practice so this project is totally focused on my environment in Binalong. It will culminate later this year in an Instagram presentation and an exhibition/performance in a local venue.

Poetry: The Indelible Stencil is a public art project which I instigated some years ago now. Ten contemporary poets (including myself) from across the STA region were commissioned to write micro poems on the theme of place. A selection of 26 poems were cut into large steel plates and installed in nature reserves and parks and near bike paths and rivers through the Southern Tablelands and Highlands. The design was inspired by the stencil plates that wool growers use to stencil their property names on wool bales.

The poets are: Jane Baker, Richard Bell, Margaret Berry, Nicola Bowery, Russell Erwin, Harry Laing, Robyn Lance, Elizabeth Lawson, Mark Tredinnick and myself. Poetry: The Indelible Stencil is an enduring project which shows that poetry has a place in any place, including in public art. Visit the map to see if there is a Poetry: The Indelible Stencil poem near you.

Some of the poems in The Wear of My Face happen on the road and some travel to other places of their own accord. Greyhounds make Great Pets begins with the memory of a trip to Perth by car and coach and ends with the ditching of the Gonski school funding review. The state of education in Australia is still an issue in 2021 even without the impact of Covid. We are still on the road in the second poem Scintillate this time thinking about what goes on above us.

You can pick up a copy of Lizz Murphy’s most recent publication The Wear of my Face at Spinifex Press. 

Lizz Murphy lives in Binalong in the Yass Valley, NSW. She writes in a variety of styles from prose poetry to micro poetry often incorporating found text.


Lizz has published fourteen books. Spinifex Press has just released her ninth poetry title The Wear of My Face (September 2021). They also published Two Lips Went Shopping in 2000 and her popular international anthology Wee Girls: Women Writing from an Irish Perspective in 1996 (reprint 2000). Other titles include: Shebird (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro/Ginninderra), Stop Your Cryin (Island). She is widely published in anthologies and journals in Australia and overseas. Her awards include the Rosemary Dobson Poetry Prize (co-winner), the Anutech Poetry Award and an ACT Creative Arts Fellowship (Literature). The Wear of My Face was supported by the ACT Government.


Lizz is a former Canberra Times Poetry Editor and has worked in regional arts development, and as a publicist in arts and publishing. She was the inaugural NSW Poetry Development Officer and once upon a time a regional newspaper editor and a shop assistant. She blogs at A Poet’s Slant

Pics by Camilla Duffy of Binalong. Scarf is by Carol Divall.

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