About the Poets

Jenni Kemarre Martiniello - A smiling woman with short dark hair.
© Anna Kucera

Jenni Kemarre Martiniello is an award winning poet, writer, editor, publisher, photographer, visual artist and academic of Arrernte, Chinese and Anglo-Celtic descent. Jennifer was awarded the Canberra Critics Circle Award 2000 for Literature, and an ACT Creative Arts Fellowship in 2003. She is a former member of the Aboriginal Studies Press Advisory Committee and her poetry, prose and essays have been published in journals and anthologies nationally and internationally, including in the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature. Her poetry has been translated into Polish, Spanish and Arabic. Jennifer has judged past NSW and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, and the David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Literature, 2006 -2010. Her prizes include the Banjo Paterson Poetry Prize and the Henry Lawson Short Story Prize. Jennifer has published seven books, and represented Australia as an Indigenous writer at Festivals of Pacific Arts in 2004 and 2012.

Kate McNamara - A woman in a green dress reclining on a couch in a happy pose.
© Robert Verdon

Kate McNamara is a poet, playwright and critical theorist. Her plays have been performed internationally. McNamara delivered the opening address to the Fourth International Conference of Women Playwrights in Galway (2001). She was awarded the H.C. Coombs Fellowship at ANU (1991) and elected to the Emeritus Faculty. She won The Banjo Patterson Award for her short story Verity. Her published works include LeavesThe Rule of Zip (AGP), Praxis and The Void Zone (AGP). Her poetry, short fiction and critical theory has been published in a number of anthologies including There is No Mystery (ed. K Kituai, 1998), The Death Mook (ed. Dion Kagan, 2008) These Strange Outcrops (2020) and The Blue Nib (2020) She has also worked extensively as an editor and has only recently returned to her first great love, poetry. McNamara is currently working on The Burning Times.

Robert Verdon - A man with long grey hair and a scarf sits on a bench.
© Kate McNamara

Robert Verdon was a member of Aberrant Genotype Press, 1998-2002. He came second in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. His books include The Well-Scrubbed Desert (Polonius, 1994), Her Brilliant Career (Aberrant Genotype Press, 1998), My Cat Eats Spaghetti (Ginninderra Press, 2000) and Before we Knew this Century (erbacce, 2010), and a spiral life (Resurgam, 2021). He has a PhD from University of Canberra on the subject of how imagined dramatic scenes can be used in creating poems.

Judith Nangala Crispin - A woman standing outside (at the Australian National University), against a dark background, she has dark shoulder length hair, and is wearing a black leather jacket, and jeans, and looks strong. The background shows parts of her lumen artwork, we see  the head and beak of a bird in the top left hand corner.
© Kerrie Brewer, Canberra Weekly

Judith Nangala Crispin is an artist and poet of Bpangerang and Gunaikurnai descent. She spends part of every year living and working in the Tanami Desert, in Warlpiri Country, where she maintains strong community links. Her work deals with issues of displacement and connection to Country. Judith has published two collections of poetry, The Myrrh-Bearers (Puncher & Wattmann, 2015) and The Lumen Seed (Daylight Books, 2017). Her illustrated verse novel, The Dingo’s Noctuary, will be published in late 2021.

Paul Collis - A smiling man with short dark hair in a black and white photo.
© Katie Hayne

Paul Collis is a Barkindji man, born in Bourke in far western New South Wales on the Darling River. Paul worked in Newcastle for much of his young adult life in the areas of teaching and in Aboriginal community development positions. He has taught Aboriginal Studies to Indigenous inmates at the Worimi and Mount Penang juvenile detention centres and in Cessnock and Maitland prisons. Paul has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a doctorate in Communications. He lives in Canberra and works as a Creative Writing academic at the University of Canberra. His novel Dancing Home (University of Queensland Press) won the David Unaipon Award, and he has published a collection of poetry Nightmares Run Like Mercury (Recent Works Press). He is co-editor of Storyground: the Anthology (Recent Works Press) with Jen Crawford.

Sue Donnelly - A smiling woman with short white hair and a white polo neck jumper rolled up around her neck.
© Myra Walker

Sue Donnelly is passionate about bringing words to life and uses emotional imagery to weave a unique perspective and deepen the reader’s understanding. Sue has been a storyteller,  short story writer, performance poet.  She has also been a facilitator of various writing workshops for primary, high school and adults.  Heartfelt Moments, ‘a poignant collection’ of poetry was published by Ginninderra Press.  Her other poems and short stories have been published in numerous anthologies. Her significant performances include: Smith’s Alternative, Federation Square, Box Hill Theatre, Opening of Wooden Boat Festival Goolwa, Eltham Festival. She has also been a regular poet on radio in both Melbourne and Goolwa.

Audrey McCormick - A young woman with shoulder length light brown hair. She is smiling and standing against a leafy background that fills the frame.
© Spencer Burns

Audrey McCormick is a student poet who works and writes on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land. She was a two-time national finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam and has performed her poetry at Enlighten Festival, the National Folk Festival, the Australian Love Stories exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and Poetic City. Audrey was 18 when she wrote her poem Patchy Shade for Kindred Trees, but she did not stay 18 for very long. She is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Canberra and writing as much as she can!

Sarah Rice - A smiling woman with short grey curly hair a white peaked cap and glasses, and in the background is vivid red Autumn maple trees.
© Sarah Rice

Sarah Rice is a poet and visual artist. She particularly loves Autumn in Canberra for its splendid display of reds and golds, and its reminder of the glorious dogwood outside her childhood home with its white Spring butterfly of flowers, and its Autumnal scarlet. Her full-length poetry collection Fingertip of the Tongue (UWAP) won the Eyelands International Book Awards for Poetry, and was shortlisted in the ACT Publishing Awards. Her art-book of poetry Those Who Travel is held in the NGA and other institutions. Her art-poetry chapbook Care-Stop was published in 2021 with Recent Work Press. Sarah won the inaugural Ron Pretty Poetry Award, the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize, co-won the International Writing Ventures, and Gwen Harwood Poetry Prizes, and placed second in the Val Vallis Awards. Her work has been shortlisted for many major national and international awards and has also been widely published. Sarah has attended PoetryAlive weekends at Harry Laing and Nicola Bowery’s property Geebung for many years. The extraordinary tree she watches from her hut inspired the poem, Tree.

Kathy Kituai - A woman smiling sitting at a table at a dinner party, she has been caught in a happy moment.
© Michelle Brock

Kathy Kituai has published a four-part radio documentary for NBC, seven poetry collections, five anthologies, a children’s story, and received two Canberra Critic Awards for her teaching in Scotland, South Australia, New South Wales, and the ACT since 1990. She has also been the tanka editor for Cattails, creative editor for Muse magazine (twice) and assistant editor for Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, her poetry has been published in Japan, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and has won international awards. Her tanka collection, Deep in the Valley of Tea Bowls, won the 2016 ACT Writing and Publisher Award.

Sarah St Vincent Welch - A smiling woman with shoulder length grey hair, pink at the front, with glasses, wearing a maroon jacket, her arms open, with a leafy backdrop.
© Dylan Jones

Sarah St Vincent Welch is known for chalking her poetry on the footpaths at arts festivals. She is one of the organisers of That Poetry Thing that is On at Smiths Every Monday. Her poem Marion won the inaugural City of Design Poetry Award in 2018. She has facilitated creative writing in the Canberra community for many years, and also works as a writer, editor, and image-maker. Her chapbook Open was published in 2019 by Rochford Press and her first collection of poetry chalk borders was published in the 2021 Flying Islands Pocket Poets series . During the fires of 2020 she was inspired to stop dreaming about a poetry and tree project and to just start one – Kindred Trees. 

S. K. Kellen
© M. Shao

S. K. Kelen is an Australian poet who has been writing longer than he cares to remember. He lives in a city where the reserves and parklands are inhabited by kangaroos, wallaroos, echidnas and many kinds of beautiful parrots and other wonderful animals. His most recent book is A Happening in Hades (Waratah, NSW: Puncher & Wattmann 2020), and Love’s Philosophy (Summer Hill, NSW: Gazebo Books 2020)

Liz Murphy

Lizz Murphy writes between Binalong NSW and Canberra ACT. She has published thirteen books. Her ninth poetry title The Wear of My Face was published by Spinifex Press in 2021. Other poetry titles include: Shebird (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro/Ginninderra), Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex Press). Spinifex also published her popular anthology Wee Girls: Women Writing from an Irish Perspective. Lizz is a former Canberra Times Poetry Editor, has worked in regional arts development and as a publicist in arts and publishing. She blogs at A Poet’s Slant. She has planted many a tree with her family.

© Dylan Jones

Tony Steven Williams is a Canberra poet, short-fiction author and songwriter with many publications in journals, anthologies and magazines. Tony’s poetic output is intentionally diverse both in form and material. He loves to wander from densely dark through to almost farcical, and he considers this a reflection of our rollercoaster lives. An occasional speculative fiction piece is a frequent visitor. However, in all his work, the environment and the human condition are very important to him. Tony is the convenor of local poetry group Tram Stop Poets. His debut poetry collection, Sun and Moon, Light and Dark, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2018, and he is currently working on his second poetry collection.

© Samia Goudie

Samia Goudie identifies as a Queer Bundjalung woman. Her Mothers family came from the White Swamp /Kilarney area of Border Ranges Qld, on Githabul Country. She was removed and grew up on Ngunnawal country where she now lives and writes. She is a member of Canberra based UsMob Writers and FNAWN, First Nations Australian writers network. She has had multi media/word /installations and exhibitions of visual art and poetry at national and international galleries.

Samia works have been published in Southerly, IWP Iowa Press, Wakefield Press, Norton and Norton, 3Cmedia Journal, Aboriginal Studies Press, Too Deadly Our Voice, Our Way, Our Business (Us Mob Writers Anthology), Giant Steps 2019 and What We Carry 2020, Recent Work Press, Routledge and in Mascara Literary Review.

Currently she is undertaking a residency through Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres as part of the Creative Recovery and Resilience Program, artsACT 2022.

She has upcoming works that will be published and audio recorded for an anthology based on responses to Covid 19 from First Nations writers.

Recently she won the KRG, Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert FNAWN poetry award 2022, which will be published by Cordite Poetry Review Autumn 2022. This is incredibly meaningful to Samia as Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert was always encouraging and a mentor to so many First Nations writers.

© Zachary Polis

Jacqui Malins is a multidisciplinary artist and poet based in Canberra. Her practice incorporates ceramics, poetry and spoken word, performance, video, drawing and photography. Jacqui has created poetry theatre shows Words in Flight; and Cavorting with Time and her first poetry collection, F-Words, was released in 2021 (Recent Work Press). You can find Jacqui and her work in galleries, on stage and page, and online at www.jacquimalinsart.com.

© Sarah St Vincent Welch

Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based creative, the author of two books, and is obsessed with trees. Her current work explores humans and nature, ecology, and connection. Most recently her pieces have appeared in Wild Roof Journal and EcoTheo Review. Find her near the nearest river; if she's not there, look at amandamcleodwrites.com

© Ed Brown

C.E. Collins is a Morris dancing, shanty singing, recovering English teacher who writes. Herpoetry has been published by Not Very Quiet, Cicerone Journal and Sudo Journal, and her collection of subversive, feminist fairy tales Forests of Silver, Forests of Gold is available from Between These Shores Books.

© Dylan Jones

Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and Dean, Graduate Research Office. She was the inaugural director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, and remains a core member of that Centre.

Jen’s creative works include lyric and prose poetry, short fictions, and artist books. She is the holder of the inaugural ACT Poet of the Year Award, as well as many other literary awards. She is also the ACT editor for the Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry mini-anthologies (2015–2017), chair of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Kenneth Slessor Award for Poetry), and co-editor for the Australasian Association of Writing Program’s literary journal, Meniscus.

Her recent volumes of poetry include Stolen Stories, Borrowed Lines (Mark Time Press, 2015), Sentences from the Archive (Recent Work Press, 2016), and Moving Targets (RWP 2018). She produced all the photographs for a collaborative poetry/photography volume, with Paul Hetherington: Watching the World (Blemish Books, 2015). With Paul Hetherington, she is also editor of the bilingual (Chinese/Australian) anthology of poetry, Open Windows: Contemporary Australian Poetry (Shanghai: Shanghai Joint Publishing Company, 2016); and of the academic journal Axon: Creative Explorations.

© Dylan Jones

Shehzad Hathi is a PhD student in mathematics at UNSW Canberra. He has written (and recited) poetry since he first learnt to write. Besides poetry, he writes prose, research papers, and anything else that makes sense to him, because he believes that’s what writing ultimately is—conveying how the world makes sense (or does not make any sense). His other work can be found at https://shehzadhathi.wordpress.com/

© Dylan Jones

Samantha Faulker is a Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal woman, from Badu and Moa Islands in the Torres Strait and the Yadhaigana and Wuthathi peoples of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. She is the proud author of Life Blong Ali Drummond: A Life in the Torres Strait, (Aboriginal Studies Press, July 2007) and edited Pamle: Torres Strait Islanders in Canberra (2018).

Her poetry and short stories are published nationally (Cordite, Verity La, Canberra Times and Rabbit Journal) and internationally (Ora Nui: A Collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature, and Narrative Witness: International Writing Program, University of Iowa). She is a member of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Network and Director, MARION (ACT Writers). She is the Treasurer of First Nations Australia Writers Network and Us Mob Writing Group.

© Dylan Jones

Hazel Hall is an Australian poet and musicologist and author of two poetry collections, three chapbooks and a radio play. She has judged three international tanka competitions. Hazel was founder and coordinator of the School of Music Poets from 2012- 2018 and directed Poetry at Manning Clark House from 2018-2022.

© Dylan Jones

Andrew Cox is a proud Filipino/Australian who creates and lives in Ngunnawal and Ngambri country (Canberra) Australia. Currently, Andrew produces and leads Canberra Poetry Slam, the capital’s new and exciting home for stories and spoken word.

With a desire to see people experience poetry and engage deeply, his live performances are memorable for intensity, honesty and abstract storytelling.

Andrew’s work has been shortlisted for national writing prizes, notably for Innovation in Spoken Word and his writing published in multiple anthologies, recognised as an emerging voice in Australian poetry.

See his work via @andrewcoxpoetry on Instagram and Facebook.

© Dylan Jones

Hangama Obaidullah came to Australia from Afghanistan as a refugee in August 2003. At that time, she spoke no English, but in October that year she began her English language studies and progressed rapidly. She enrolled as a mature age student at St Mary’s Senior High School, Sydney, graduating with her Higher School Certificate in 2009. She received an Award for Excellence, Major Works, and a Commendation Award for her HSC body of artwork.

Hangama has since developed her arts practice in painting, drawing, photography and writing. She moved to Canberra in 2010. Hangama has exhibited in a variety of public venues in Canberra, other Australian cities and internationally and she has worked actively as an advocate for migrant women and refugees.

Hangama’s artwork draws on her Afghan heritage, her homeland and its history. She espouses an aesthetic and philosophy of beauty, grace and community service. Her goal is to assist other Afghan women and children though her visual arts practice and her writing.

© Jonathan Nettle

Asefeh Abedini is a poet who writes in three languages; English, Persian and Azerbaijani. Her poems are published in Cicerone Journal issue 2, Woroni Multilingual paper, ‘Arrival’ a ‘Lost in Books Anthology’ (Lost in Books bookshop in Sydney) and ‘Persian Sugar in English Tea VIII’ a bilingual anthology in USA. She was also a member of the ‘Please Explain’ panel in June 2018 at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art as a multilingual poet and a linguist. She has featured in a number of poetry festivals and now facilitates Bilingual Storytimes for children in English and other languages at Libraries ACT in Canberra. She is currently the Multicultural Services Coordinator at Libraries ACT.

© Dylan Jones

Penelope Layland is a poet and editor. Her most recent book is Beloved (Recent Work Press 2022), a suite of poems in the voice of the 19th-century diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.

© Dylan Jones

Barrina South is a Barkindji artist, poet and critic dedicated to writing about topics and themes affecting land, place, culture, and history. In 2023, her short story Family Tree was adapted for the stage by the Mill Theatre, Canberra and she was commissioned to write an ekphrastic poem for the National Gallery of Australia. Her work has been published in Rabbit, Authora Australia, Kuracca a First Nations poetry anthology and the special issue of the Teesta Review: A Journal of Poetry, India. Barrina was an invited speaker at the 2023 Blue Mountains Writers Festival and was awarded the 2024 Varuna First Nations Fellowship. Her debut collection of poetry is currently in development. Barrina is a current member of the First Nations Australia Writers Network and a Director of Us Mob Writing (UMW) who lives on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country.

© Dylan Jones

PS Cottier has written eight books of poetry, a collection of short stories and a non-fiction pamphlet about the wildlife near Parliament House. She used to edit poetry for a newspaper, and is an avid collector of garden gnomes.

© Dylan Jones

Sandra Renew’s poetry has been awarded two Canberra Critics Circle Awards. One in 2023 for Apostles of Anarchy (Recent Work Press 2023), and one in 2019, with Moya Pacey “for their influential work in exposing Canberra women’s poetry to view through their biannual online journal for women’s poetry, Not Very Quiet 2017-2022.” Sandra’s collection, It’s the sugar, Sugar (Recent Work Press, 2021) won the ACT Writers Notable Awards for Poetry 2021. Acting Like a Girl (Recent Work Press, 2019) was the winner of the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry, and was also shortlisted for the 2020 ACT Book of the Year. She writes on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land (Canberra) and Yuin land (Cobargo).

© Dylan Jones

Lawren Wooding is a transfeminine writer and poet. She is one of the organisers of That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smiths Every Monday. Lawren’s day job is as a software engineer and web developer – she developed and currently administers the Kindred Trees website.