2019 Emerging Poets Participants

WAPI Emerging Poets Program
The nine participants in the WA Poets Inc Emerging Poets Program were selected because of the clarity, vision and uniqueness of their poetry and writing.  They were also selected on how their poetry relates to WA and could further a dialogue on what West Australian literature is and, more importantly, can become.

The WAPI Emerging Poets Program is coordinated and organised by Scott-Patrick Mitchell.

WAPI Emerging Poets Participants


AJ Brian is a poet, writer and public speaker living in Perth. When she isn’t writing, AJ enjoys spending time in her garden and accidentally showering with her headband on. AJ is currently working on her first manuscript regarding love and loss that transcends generations.


Josephine Clarke is a member of the Voicebox collective and Out of the Asylum Writers’ Group. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Australian journals including Westerly and Cordite and was recently featured in the ABR‘s States of Poetry WA, series 2. She was a featured poet of the 2016 Perth Poetry Festival where she launched her first poetry chapbook, between white. Through the Emerging Poets Program, Josephine hopes to strengthen her work and complete a manuscript that explores culture and identity in the West Australian landscape.


Fable Goldsmith is an artist, athlete and mother of three. Despite being new to writing, Fable has had an eventful past year, making it into the Australian Poetry Slam state final just months after writing their very first poem in 2017. Since then, Fable has been awarded a number of opportunities, including features at The Perth Poetry Festival and Spoken Word Perth, as well as most recently placing 3rd in the Australian Poetry Slam after winning the 2018 WA state final. Fable is currently working on a collection of poems entitled A thousand ways to say goodbye. This work explores themes including gender diversity, disability, mental health, relationships, loss and grief from a personal perspective.

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Ruari Jack Hughes, born in 1944, lived in and near Sydney until his early teens when his parents separated and his name was changed to Roger Horton. In 2011, he resumed his birth names. Ruari Jack has published poems and short stories in Australia, NZ, USA, UK, Israel, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Italy. His writing has attracted prizes, commendations and scholarships. In 2012 he published a collection of poems titled Memories. Drawing on the extant, forty-six poem-cycle titled Townsend, Ruari Jack is interested in exploring issues of memory, gender, the accidental, love and loss to form a coherent poetry manuscript.

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Mel Knight is a heart-on-her-sleeve Perth poet, who seeks to connect with others and make them feel less alone through her poetry. Mel’s work explores issues of love and loss, sexuality, spirit and society. She aims to deliver in a way that makes your brain light up with a funny analogy or a fun twist of words. Mel loves hummus, the sunshine and a girl rocking a ponytail.


Taonga is 19 years old, a spoken word artist, poet and, above all things, a storyteller. In 2017, she made her debut at the Western Australian Youth Slam and has since performed countless events including the Perth Poetry festival, and featuring across Perth. Her art is a means of self-expression, healing and understanding, and greatly reflects the ever-changing person she is and will continue to be. In Taonga’s manuscript, her journey through current diaspora, and all its subsequent themes and experiences, are explored from an intimate and personal perspective.

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Sunny Wignall began writing and performing poetry in 2000. In 2014 he completed a Grad Dip in Creative Writing at Curtin Uni, producing a series of poems exploring connection and disconnection from the natural environment, colonisation and belonging. In 2019, via the Emerging Poets program, Sunny intends to further these enquiries, focusing on the new Yagan Square precinct, the lives of Yagan, Fanny Balbuk and the concept of finding home. Sunny is published in Poetry d’Amour 2013, the poetry anthology Creative Connections 2015–2018 and a chapbook These Reeds. He has been a guest reader at Perth Poetry Club and Voice Box.


Colin Young is a queer poet born in Perth and has a BA and PhD in Greek literature. He regards poetry as a lens by which to explore the world and society, and to awaken understanding. In his current poetry collection, he is bringing together environmental and gay themes, and seeking new spaces in which to perceive these issues in combination. For him, identity is bound up in sexuality, in the natural environment of WA, and in how we view ourselves within our culture. In his poems, those that are marginalised, as well as the landscapes of WA themselves, will have a voice.


The two-year pilot program is in response to the recent Writing Sector Review and is funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (the organisation the former Department of Culture and Arts has been integrated into) and Lotterywest.

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