2021 Perth Poetry Festival Program

A range of free and low-cost events including workshops, discussions and poetry readings that will inspire you and encourage you to develop your poetry.

These events take place on Whadjuk Noongar land. WAPI acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land and extend our respects to Elders past, present and future.

For details of the Festival Workshops click here

For Biographies of the featured guest poets click here

To download a pdf of the draft program click on the link:

WAPI follows Covid requirements at venues. Guest poets appearing via Zoom will be projected onto a screen.

Most events will have a Zoom option for those who cannot attend in person. Click on the link under the relevant event to book (Zoom Link will be on your ticket).

All events at Queens Budding Hall (level 1, 97 William St. Perth) unless stated otherwise.

To be part of the audience, book your tickets at: https://www.trybooking.com/BTIHG
To participate in select events via Zoom click on the link under the event descriptor. Your Zoom Link will be on your ticket, if there is no Zoom Link you have booked the wrong ticket. A booking fee applies to all purchases.

Limited Door Sales (cash or PayPal Q–download the PayPal app onto your phone)

For the latest updates, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wapoets

Events (* Free events, + Limited open mic, = Zoom option)

Big Screen*

Poetry Micro–Residencies

Friday 10 September
OOTA POETRY CLASS

Letters from Isolation +=

Saturday 11 September
Young Poets +
Anti Slam
=
Multicultural Poetry +=

Sunday 12 September
Ekphrastic Poetry *
Your Place =
Fast Talking Women: Women’s Poetry +=
Book Launches *=

Wednesday 15 September
Poemambulism 21
Lunch Poets *+

Thursday 16 September
Four Oceans Launch *
Poetry Gala =

Friday 17 September
Wellness Poetry *+
Micro Poetry Readings *=

Zou Mat Je (做乜嘢) Launch *
OutSpoken +=

Saturday 18 September
Perth Poetry Club +=
Poetry Writing Drop in *+
Blak Ink *+=

Sunday 19 September
Poetry from the Writers Centres *=

West o’ the Moon; the Poetry of Fairytale +=
Festival Finale =

Venues Note: Queens Building is not heated

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Big Screen
Northbridge Piazza, Perth
11–19 September

WAPPI is collaborating with the City of Perth to project poetry and related content on the big screen, from 12pm, 11–19 September, at the Northbridge Piazza, corner James and Lake St.

Poetry Micro–Residencies
WAPI Office
10am–2pm. 13, 14 & 16 Sept.
This is a free event

Come to the WAPI office and discuss, share and explore poetry with the resident poet:

Monday 13 Sept: Lydia Trethewey

Tuesday 14 Sept: SoulReserve

Thursday 16 Sept: Siobhan Hodge

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Friday 10 September

OOTA POETRY CLASS with SHEY MARQUE 

Line Breaks and Enjambment
10am –12.10pm on Friday 10 Sept
at Mattie Furphy House, 88 Wood St, Swanbourne

Cost: OOTA members $25.00; non-members $30.00 (pay at the door)

Details at: https://www.ootawriters.com/our-classes

Letters from Isolation.
7 –9.30pm
$10 waged/$5 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTJTG
Cash Bar available

Featuring “Dirty Laundry” by Yael Harris and poetry readings from: Allan Padgett, Christine Della Vedova and Coral Carter with Marcus John. Limited open mike available.

During the bubonic plague, 1665, Sir Isaac Newton retreated to his family home in Lincolnshire, where in a remarkable burst of creativity, he laid the groundwork for his theories on gravity, calculus and optics.   Shakespeare wrote some of his best poems and plays such as King Lear, while plague forced a closure of London’s theatres.

Why is great art or science so often born of suffering?

The global pandemic changed our worlds, suddenly and profoundly. 

Because of COVID-19, many of us were confined to our homes without our usual predictable routines and cluttered schedules.  With this strange gift of unstructured time, along with the fear of the unknown and isolation from friends and family, we can ask ourselves as poets and lovers of poetry, what kind of poetry did this surreal experience inspire?

“Letters from isolation” is a poetic expression and understanding of such a monstrous and unpredictable time.  A way to reflect, sit and process what it was like to be in that pandemic storm.  Like many artists who went before us, our way through and out of suffering is our art.  John Milton wrote Paradise Lost after losing his wife, his daughter and his eyesight.  Van Gough created his greatest works including Starry Night, from the insane asylum in Saint-Remy while battling crippling mental health issues.  Wrestling with this pandemic forced us individually and collectively to face our own mortality and vulnerability.

The poetry and poets at this festival event will place us in that experience through their artistic expression of such a historically bizarre and significant time.  Their poetry will help us come to terms with this event in our lives that we can’t control and can’t really explain, when we find meaning in our suffering we heal and overcome.

“There is a crack, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” Leonard Cohan. 

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Saturday 11 September

Young Poets
2-4pm
Moon Café
For details on how participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.perthpoetryclub.com/
Entry by donation

These young poets are the voices of future poetry. They bring to our poetry readings a zest and enthusiasm that is important in keeping poetry fresh. Through their words and their reading, the poetry community will be invigorated. All of these poets are currently still studying at school. They have busy lives and plenty of pressure to achieve excellent academic results before they go on to other pursuits or further study. Nonetheless, all of them have found time to create, to explore the play of words within poetic form and to offer comment on their world. Although they may be young poets venturing for the first time into live performance of their work, what they have to say is well worth listening to.

Thomas Hunt is a big fan of postmodernist writing and poetry, he attempts to represent both the marginalised and peculiar, from worlds both past and present. Often taking the odd and unconsidered as a thematic focus, he isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into other art forms, and does so often. He is also in the process of writing a musical.

Tallulah Pestell gets a lot out of poetry, as it is one of her favourite forms of self-expression. While she loves to paint and draw, she finds poetry to be much more personal, and challenging. Poetry also allows gives Tallulah a sense of freedom when she is writing.

Saskia Fleming is passionate about the study of Mathematics and Science and hopes to pursue a career in these in the future. Saskia sees these subjects connected to poetry as she tries to make sense of the world. She loves the precision of language that poetry provides and the way that particular words are combined to create something elegant and occasionally surprising. In 2020 Saskia won the Primo Lux Poetry Prize

Juliet Quinlivan enjoys the opportunity to write creatively, experimenting with different kinds of poetry and prose. Her work is often influenced by her childhood experiences growing up in Asia’s biggest cities, in places like Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Next year, she hopes to study International Relations or Law in Canberra, to develop her passion for social justice and eventually work overseas.  

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Anti Slam
4.30-6.30pm
$10 waged/$5 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To be a part of the audience at this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTJTN
Cash Bar available

MC’d by Saoirse Nash. A reaction to conventional slams where the worst/most humorous poetry performance wins. Cash prizes for winners. Sign in at 4.15pm, limited slots so be prompt.

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MultiCultural Poetry
7.00-9.30pm
$10 waged/$5 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLB
Cash Bar available

For many festivals running we have had multi-cultural and reconciliation efforts to reflect the paradoxically diverse yet unified we call Australian. Tonight, we reconcile with the First Nation people and feature poets from Europe and Asia to continue our commitment to multi-cultural poetry. Featured poets include:

Karine Suares writes poetry and fiction both in English and French. She was born in Normandy from a Madagascan mother and a French father and is a social advocate for marginal unrepresented communities that are newly migrant, unemployed and in detention or homeless.

Soul Reserve aka Laxmi from Sri Lanka an online blogger with over a thousand hits and a Media and a Social Project activist.

Daniel Hansen who is Indigenous and a rapper musician and seeking fusion between Dreamtime and Catholicism.

Morsiman who is Scandinavian / Egyptian and the writer of a much-celebrated trilogy and gifted photo-journalist who will draw on a common element of Arabic along with Alnawabb who is an Iranian migrant who was a horticulturalist and served in the tanks for fourteen years during the Iranian / Iraquian conflict and short listed for a recent multicultural writing Contest.

Music is provided by Tam Thai from Vietnam whose work has been broadcast on Radio Saigon and backs West Australia’s Vietnamese Opera and Poetry Society events.

Poetry will be both celebratory and critical of Australia and occasionally bi-lingual.

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Sunday 12 September

Ekphrastic Poetry
2.00-4.00pm
PICA
This is a free event but we ask that you please book tickets; click here

Join us at PICA and be inspired by “Love in Bright Landscapes” curated by Annika Kristensen. The first hour will be devoted to writing poetry inspired by the art and the second hour will be an opportunity to share what you have written.

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Your Place with RikTheMost (on Zoom)
2.30–5.30pm
Participation by donation

For details and to participate, goto: https://www.facebook.com/YourPlaceEvents

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Fast Talking Women: Women’s Poetry
4.30-6.30pm
$10 waged/$5 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLG
Cash Bar available

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? 
The world would break open”
 says poet Muriel Rukeyser

This reading places women’s voices at the centre, as women step up to the mic. This event will feature invited guests and some open mic spots for those who identify as women. All are welcome as audience members. Featured poets include: Kate Wilson, Bron Bateman, Natalie D-Napoleon and Feiyah Hadar .

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Book Launches
7.00-9.30pm
This is a free event
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLM
Cash Bar available

Join WA Poets Publishing, Emily Sun and KSP in launching

Poetry d’Amour 2021 (WA Poets Publishing)Award presentations for the 2021 Poetry d’Amour Love Poetry Contest followed by selected readings from the anthology.

Vociferate (Fremantle Press)
The poems in Emily Sun’s debut poetry collection Vociferate| 詠 were inspired by diasporic-Asian feminist writers. Like these writers, Emily resists Orientalist tropes as she explores the complexities of national and transnational identities, reflects upon the concept of belonging, and questions what it means to be Asian-Australian.

KSP Anthology (Wild Weeds Press)
The Poet’s@KSP anthology followed by select readings by contributors.

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Wednesday 15 September

Poemambulism 21
10.00am-12.00pm
Event commences at the front of Queens Building, 97 William St., Perth (please arrive at 9.45am for a 10am start) and ends at Northbridge Piazza.
Cost is one hour of your wage or what you can afford. To book click here

Join us for a gentle stroll with fellow poets. Poemambulism will take a poetic walk through the Perth city centre over two hours exploring its history and architecture, and its colours, forms and textures. The journey begins at the Queens Building and ends at the Northbridge Piazza, and is suitable for all levels of fitness. There will be ample places to stop and rest and write. The journey will be fully wheelchair accessible, and any other disability needs will be accommodated by arrangement.

Meet 9.45 am ready to go at 10 am at the front of Queens Building (97 William Street, Perth). Bring comfortable shoes, your preferred writing and recording materials, and an inquiring, poetic mind. Making and performing poems on the way is optional but preferred. We will try to make a zine after the walk to be distributed at the Festival Launch.

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Lunch Poets
12–1pm
Northbridge Piazza, cnr James & Lake St. Perth
This is a free event

Come for a mega open mike. Register on the day for a 3-minute slot and read your poetry to an open crowd.

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Thursday 16 September

Four Oceans Launch
5.30–6.30pm
This is a free event
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTSCB

Launched by Jaya Penelope 

With readings by Toby Davidson and guests 

Four Oceans, Toby Davidson’s second collection, confirms his reputation as one of the most expansive and radical voices in the emerging generation of Australian poets. It moves from Western to Eastern Australia and overseas through finely-wrought long sequences and experiments in form which bear stark witness to the present moment and ask us how we got here.

Book-ended by two substantial sequences, with ‘memory as a toy to tamper with (and how)’, and great verbal ingenuity and humour, Four Oceans is a major achievement of one of our most talented younger poets.
– David Malouf

Toby Davidson is a West Australian poet now living on Gai-mariagal land in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He teaches Australian literature at Macquarie University and his most recent scholarly book is Good for the Soul: John Curtin’s Life with Poetry (UWA Publishing, 2021), a literary biography of Australia’s wartime Prime Minister. Toby’s latest poetry collection is Four Oceans (Puncher and Wattman, 2020), which features long sequences on crossing Australia by train and on his home suburb of Cottesloe.

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Poetry Gala
7 – 10pm
$15 waged/$10 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLQ
Cash Bar available

Featuring key note speech by Festival Patron, Annamaria Weldon and a taste of what is to come from guest poets RikTheMost (via Zoom), Jill Jones, David McCooey, Emily Sun, Alexander Te Pohe and Miriam Wei Wei Lo plus the Creatrix Poetry and Haiku Prize presentations.

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Friday 17 September

Wellness Poetry
11am for a 11.30 start. 1pm finish
Holyrood Pavilion
This is a free event
Lunch, tea and coffee are free; soft drinks are $1.50

Join host Leonard James and the Lorikeet team at the Holyrood Pavilion for a free event in a welcoming and non-judgemental space. Persons with a mental illness are invited to share a poem they have written or a famous historical poem that is special to them. There is no theme for content, but trigger warnings are strongly advised as there will be persons with PTSD in attendance. Register on the day. Includes featured poetry readings from: Lisa Collyer, Michael James, Aydan Lesina, Lana Moon and Zee Ibrahim. All others are welcome to sit with us and listen.

Event will start 11.30am on the dot and run until 1pm with nibbles and chat after. Given previous events, it is likely that we may have time for you to perform a long poem (4mins), two poems or even three very short ones. Joining us will be five guest poets sharing their work.

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Micro Poetry Readings
4.30–6.30 pm
This is a free event
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLU

Poetry readings from the participants in the 2021 Poetry Micro–Residencies program: Lydia Trethewey, SoulReserve and Siobhan Hodge

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Zou Mat Je (做乜嘢) Launch
Rabble Books, 2/46 Eighth Ave, Maylands WA
6–8pm
This is a free event


Zou Mat Je (做乜嘢) is a zine + community space connecting Cantonese writers and artists across the world, containing our shared identities, histories, resiliences and hopes. Zou Mat Je. It’s what’s up/what’s wrong with you in Cantonese. Details at https://www.facebook.com/zoumatje

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OUTSpoken
7 – 9.30pm
$10 waged/$5 un-waged To book click here
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKLV
Funds raised will be donated to supporting the LGBTIQA+  community.

Join us for an evening of LGBTIQA+ poetry as we celebrate the diversity of queer verse here in Perth … and beyond. Featured poets include: Jill Jones, Biddle, Joni Boyd (aka Checkout Chick), Daley Rangi, Adele Aria, Javier Bateman and Mary Jane Midland.

As always, OUTspoken is a fundraising event. This year we will be raising funds for Assisting Your Life to Achieve (AYLA) Inc.

OUTspoken is an LGBTIQA+ inclusive safe space.

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Saturday 18 September

Perth Poetry Club
2-4pm
Moon Cafe
For details on how participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.perthpoetryclub.com/
Entry by donation

A smattering of poetry from all of the festival guest poets; RikTheMost (via Zoom), Jill Jones, David McCooey, Emily Sun, Alexander Te Pohe and Miriam Wei Wei Lo. This is a combined WA Poets/Perth Poetry Club event and includes limited open mic.

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Poetry Writing Drop in
4.30–6.30 pm
This is a free event

Test your skill for a fun afternoon of poetry writing. You will be provided with prompts that will challenge and extend your poetry ability. Participants will be encouraged to share their work.

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Blak Ink
7 – 9.30pm
This is a free event but we ask that you please book tickets; click here
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKNI
Cash Bar available

MC Cyndi Moody. Welcome to Country followed by selected readings from featured First Nations poets, Cass Lynch and Elfie Shiosaki, supported by Tony Walley, Olivia Slater and others as they explore Language, Country and decolonisation.

Open mic on the evening available for First Nation poets and others if time permits.

Cyndi Moody loves poetry because it has no rules! Whadjak/balladong is her tribe. In her love for poetry, she has MC’d poetry events, has three poems published and is a singer songwriter.

Elfie Shiosaki is a Noongar and Yawuru writer. She is a Lecturer in Indigenous Rights at the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. She was the Editor of Indigenous Writing at Westerly from 2017 to 2021. Her books are maar bidi: next generation black writing, edited by Linda Martin and Elfie Shiosaki (Magabala Books 2020), and Homecoming, a collection of poetry and prose (Magabala Books 2021).

Cass Lynch is a writer, researcher and arts facilitator living in Boorloo/Perth, Australia. She has recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing that investigates Aboriginal memory of ice ages and sea level rise. She is a descendant of the Noongar people and a student of the Noongar language. Her Noongar language haikus, published in Westerly 64.1, won the 2019 Patricia Hackett Prize.

Anthony (Tony) Walley is a senior Noongar and Yamatji man, born and raised in Morawa, WA. Tony has always delved into words and literature and formed a love of poetry through his mother many years ago. Tony’s passion for short poetry grew even more after the passing of his daughter some years ago and it’s through poetry that he’s been able to express trauma, emotion, love, history and loss.

Olivia Slater Olivia Slater is Badimia Yamatji and Whadjuk Noongar, living on her Noongar homelands in Boorloo (Perth). She stories in various ways and is currently completing her PhD in Education at the University of Cambridge.

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Sunday 19 September

Poetry from the Writers Centres
2-4pm
This is a free event
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKMK
Limited open mic if time permits.
Cash Bar available

MC’d by Emily Mills, join poets: Gary De Piazzi, Daphne Milne, Fern Pendragon, Shey Marque, Mardi May, Andrew Sutherland, Carol Millner, Allan Padgett, Fran Graham, Jan Napier and Kevin Gillam.

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Your Place with RikTheMost (on Zoom)
2.30–5.30pm
Participation by donation

For details and to participate, goto: https://www.facebook.com/YourPlaceEvents

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West o’ the Moon; the Poetry of Fairytale
4.30 – 6.30pm
$15 waged/$10 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKMO
Cash Bar available

From Anne Sexton to Ted Hughes to Margaret Atwood, many poets have been fascinated by myth, fairytale and folklore, using the rich imagery and ambiguous themes as jumping off points for their own writing. This reading features local poets sharing poetry that has been inspired by these narratives and speaking about how they work with this material. Featured poets include: Melissa Harvey, Jaya Penelope, Zan Ross and Tim Dunn.

There will be some open mic spots available.

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Festival Finale
7 – 10pm
$15 waged/$10 un-waged. To book click here. Limited door sales.
To participate in this event via Zoom click on the link: https://www.trybooking.com/BTKMQ
Cash Bar available

A celebration of everything about the festival with final performances by the guest poets; RikTheMost (via Zoom), Jill Jones, David McCooey, Emily Sun, Alexander Te Pohe and Miriam Wei Wei Lo plus the presentation of the Ros Spencer Poetry Contest Prizes.

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Venues
Northbridge Piazza Big ScreenCnr James & Lake St. Northbridge
Holyrood Pavillion Holyrood St, West Leederville
Moon Café323 William St, Northbridge 
PICA51 James St. Perth.
Queens Building HallLevel 1, 97 William St Perth (Note: this venue is not heated)
WAPI OfficeLevel 2, Rm 33 Bon Marche Arcade. 80 Barrack St. Perth
97 William St. Perth

The 2021 Perth Poetry Festival  receives funds from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australia Cultural Fund and is supported by;