I want my poems to be heard, not just read silently. Paddy Carrol Tjungurrayi, Pintubi elder, explained it to me this way, ‘Nakamarra, you gotta have that story in here (tapping his forehead) not just on bit a paper. That’s how we do ‘im.’

I am in love with the rhythms of speech: I rejoice at the vigour and celebratory power of the language used by children, and have found this same robust energy in Medieval literature, in Inuit songs, in the ceremonial language of many races and in the ‘non-standard’ English of most of the conversations I hear around me.

I have five sisters, four grown children and a lot of other relatives (though the ranks are thinning, now). We all sing, talk, argue and tell good stories.


Abide coverAbide

By Terry Whitebeach. Published by Burringbah Books, 2019

A selection of poems, which spans three decades,
Abide celebrates landscape, loss and love,
& both the fluctuating and abiding nature
of human connections and interactions.

RRP $15.99 + P&P
Copies available – contact me to order.

All the Shamans coverAll the Shamans Work in Safeway

Poems for young adults

By Terry Whitebeach, published by Ginninderra Press, ACT, 2007

From country Tasmania to the Kimberley, through Central Australia to the pueblos of New Mexico, from Alaska to Antarctica and back again, the everyday shamans of this world have been discovered, living their ‘ordinary’ magical lives. The poet shape-shifts the language of home, work and school and transforms its joys and despairs, its hopes and humour into celebratory verse.

RRP $15.99 + P&P
Copies available – contact Ginninderra Press to order.

4 New Poets coverBird Dream

 ‘Bird Dream’ in Four New Poets, (Ed. Judith Rodriguez) Penguin Books, Ringwood, Victoria, 1993.

Winner of the 1994 Anne Elder Award for a first book of poetry

Shortlisted for the 1994 WA Premier’s Award

This book is currently out of print.

…dominated by some marvellous poems about the poet’s family, especially her feral, much-loved children. … Denis, celebrated in the first poem, must be one of the really remarkable creations (factual or fictional) in all Australian literature.

Martin Duwell, The Weekend Australian

Read an extract from Bird Dream, ‘Ex-Husband’ – all about Denis.

I named my first poetry collection after this engraving by brilliant and inspiring Inuit artist Kenojuak.

Bird Dream engraving
Bird Dream engraving by Inuit artist Kenojuak, 1962.


If you love poetry, see also – The Sky Falls Down, An Anthology of Loss, edited by Terry Whitebeach and Gina Mercer