Philip Roby Hammial (born 1937) is an Australian poet, publisher, editor, artist and art curator. He has a long list of achievements in writing, publishing and sculpting. His achievements include twenty-four collections of poetry, thirty solo sculpture exhibitions and, acting as the director/curator of The Australian Collection of Outsider Art, twenty-six exhibitions of Australian Outsider Art in five countries.

Hammial's significance to Australian poetry has been recognised by the Australia Council, which awarded him a Senior Writer’s Fellowship in 1996, an Established Writer’s Fellowship in 2004 and the Nancy Keesing Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2009.


Hammial (born 1937) grew up in and around Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Farmington High School in 1954. After three years in the engine rooms of US Navy ships he went to Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan, and then to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he ‘discovered’ poetry, art, philosophy and history. Graduating with honors in English Literature and Philosophy in 1963, he went on to travel the world for a total of eleven years, visiting eighty-one countries & working in three – Denmark, England and Greece. In 1972 he arrived in Sydney on a tourist visa and nine months later was granted a resident visa. He is now an Australian citizen, married to Anne Welch an English as a second language teacher, with one child, Genevieve Aloka, born in 1997, and has been living in the Blue Mountains since 1994. Hammial started work at the age of twelve and had over one hundred jobs in five countries before retiring in 2000. A member of the Woodford Bush Fire Brigade between 1995 and 2003, Hammial fought many of the fires that raged through the Blue Mountains during those years. An environmental and human rights activist, he has worked as a volunteer for the Wilderness Society and for the Free Tibet Action Group.

Literary and artistic career

Hammial has published twenty-four collections of poetry and is the editor of “25 poètes australiens”, an anthology published in Trois-Rivières and Paris. He is also the editor (with Ulli Beier and Rudi Krausmann) of the seminal “Outsider Art in Australia”. As the director of The Australian Collection of Outsider Art, he has curated or helped to organize twenty-six exhibitions of Australian Outsider Art – in Australia, Germany, France, Belgium and the United States. The most recent exhibition – “Australian Outsiders” (23 artists) – spent two months at the Orange Regional Gallery, seven weeks at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and then went to the Halle St. Pierre in Paris for six months (September 2006 to February 2007) where it was very well received. Hammial himself is also an artist. He has had thirty-two solo exhibitions and his work has been included in over seventy group exhibitions. In 1979 he became the editor of Island Press. The oldest small press in Australia still publishing poetry, Island was founded in 1970 by Philip Roberts and has published fifty-eight titles to date.

Two of his poetry collections were short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize – “Bread” in 2001 and “In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children” in 2004 and one was short-listed for the ACT Poetry Prize - "Skin Theory" in 2010. His poems have appeared in 21 anthologies of Australian poetry and in 87 journals in 9 countries. He has represented Australia at six major international poetry festivals – Poetry Africa 2000 in Durban, South Africa; the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poesie, Paris, 2000; The World Festival of Poets, Tokyo, 2000; the Festival International de la Poésie, Trois-Rivières, 2004; the Micro Festival, Prague, 2009 and the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poesie, Melbourne, 2010. In 2001 he had a one month writer-in-residency at the Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain and for six months in 2009/10 he was the Australian writer-in-residence at the Cite International des Arts in Paris.


1988: Rothman’s Foundation Poetry Prize
2001: short-listed for a NSW Premier's Award and the Kenneth Slessor prize
2004: short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor prize

Philip Hammial's Works:

2012 in poetry 2012 : "Detroit", Island Press (Australia)
2010 in poetry 2010 "Drink from the Animal", Island Press (Australia)
2009 in poetry 2009 : "Skin Theory", Puncher & Wattmann (Australia)
2008 in poetry|2008]]: “Wig Hat On”, Island Press (Australia),
2007: “Juggernaut”, Island Press (Australia),
2006: “Sugar Hits’, Island Press (Australia),
2005: “Voodoo Realities”, Island Press (Australia),
2005: “Swan Song”, Picaro Press
2003: “In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children”, Island Press Co-operative
2000: “Auto One”, Vagabond Press
2000: “Bread”, Black Pepper
1996: “Black Market” (in The Wild Life), Penguin
1995: “Just Desserts”, Island Press (Australia),
1994: “With One Skin Less”, Hale & Iremonger
1989: “Travel/Writing” (with Ania Walwicz), Angus & Robertson
1988: “Pell Mell”, Black Lightning Press
1985: “Vehicles” (with Anthony Mannix), Island Press
1985: “Squeeze”, Island Press
1979: “Swarm”, Island Press
1978: “More Bath, Less Water”, Red Press
1977: “Hear Me Eating”, Makar Press
1977: “Mastication Poems”, The Saturday Centre
1977: “Chemical Cart”, Island Press
1976: “Footfalls & Notes”, The Saturday Centre

Poems by Philip Hammial

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