Can you briefly describe your writing career?
A happy accident—for a while I thought I was a painter. At first I just played, but then words found a pattern and a place in my life. Thirteen (almost) books later … and some great opportunities.
What inspires your creativity?
The world. Walking. Walking with a sunhat pulled low over my eyes. Nature. Art. Sitting in cafés. Suburbs. Cities. People—poems-on-sticks. The news. Colour. Travel, but I seldom do it. Reading poets. Play—remembering to. Etc.
What do you love about poetry?
Succinctness. Honed language and images. Simplicity and depth. Diversity. The surprises.
You have an upcoming poetry workshop series at the ACT Writers Centre, Land • Sea • Air—what can participants expect to take away from these classes?
Lots of writing and lots of ideas. Although, they are short workshops, so some writing and some ideas. Writer’s block— what’s that?! The will to keep writing. Joy—I hope.
What is your approach to teaching, and what writing tip do you find yourself giving out the most?
I try to inspire the love of writing for writing’s sake alongside the confidence to polish and submit—often it’s about helping writers to re-find those things, to commit to the long haul, to aim higher or to find a fresh approach. I’m interested in hearing about the writers’ achievements however small or large, their aims and struggles. I enjoy seeing their strengths. If I can share something extra from my own experience (or another writer’s) through the day to guide at an individual level, all the better. You can never underestimate the experience and energy around the table and I always hope to fan those dynamics. I generally use themes to give a different focus to each workshop, and to facilitate ideas/new writing/skills development. I see myself as a facilitator. I hope we have a fun time while we’re at it.
Writing tips—the need for the old standbys never goes away: have a dedicated writing space (of some sort), have a routine (of some sort), carry a notebook, take yourself seriously even if others don’t, be selective about who you seek feedback from, dream, set goals, just write.
Lizz Murphy is running a poetry workshop series, Land • Sea • Air Saturday 6 August, 20 August & 3 September from 10:30am–1pm. The workshops include writing exercises and discussion with an emphasis on generating ideas and meeting new challenges. There is guidance on developing poems and setting goals to help you continue on. You can book into one or all three in the series here.