2022 Perth Poetry Festival Workshops

WA Poets Inc (WAPoets), as part of the 2022 Perth Poetry Festival, is pleased to offer a series of workshops that will extend and complement your poetry writing. All workshops are open to poets of all skill levels and abilities. 

Cost per workshop
$35 Regular
$30 WAPoets and Writers United members, Students and Pensioners.

Early bird bookings (until 30 June)—$30/$25

To book workshops goto: https://www.trybooking.com/BZDHU

Places are limited and a booking fee applies to all purchases.

Workshops will involve written exercises, please bring appropriate materials.

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

Venue

Centre for Stories. 100 Aberdeen St, Northbridge

These workshops take place on Whadjuk Noongar land. WAPoets acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land and extend our respect to Elders past, present and future.

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PROGRAM

Saturday 1st October
10–11.30am Writing an Ekphrastic Poem Peter Boyle
12–1.30pm Subjectivity and Translation Freya Daly Sadgrove

Sunday 2nd October
11am–12.30pm Poetry Beyond the Page Tamryn Bennett
1–2.30pm Poetry and the Folklore of Place Barbara Temperton

Saturday 8th October
10–11.30am Writing Elegy Amy Lin
12–1.30pm Box, Building, Obituary: Exploring Prose Poetry Scott-Patrick Mitchell
2–3.30pm Tapping the Roots of Memory Colin Young

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Writing an Ekphrastic Poem 
Peter Boyle 
Saturday 1st October.10–11.30am

An Ekphrastic poem takes a work of art as its starting point. Though it typically includes some description of the art work, a good ekphrastic poem — like Eavan Boland’s ‘Domestic Interior’ or W.H. Auden’s ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ — does much more than describe. It makes a leap from the art work itself to something that especially grabs the poet. Likewise it helps the poet move beyond the simple statement of personal feelings and opinions towards a more complex, nuanced, engaging creation.

In this workshop I will discuss strategies that can be used to write ekphrastic poems. Participants will then be given the opportunity to write an ekphrastic poem of their own. 

Some of the strategies to be introduced include modulating the point of view, deciding who will be the speaker(s) in the poem, taking the freedom to see the work in an unconventional way or several alternate ways, and writing quick observations that can be reworked later. In the past I have written preliminary notes for ekphrastic poems in a gallery or museum, standing directly in front of the painting, jotting down phrases that I can work up later. Reproductions of many art works can now be viewed quite readily on the web.

A preliminary discussion will focus on a few ekphrastic poems, including my responses to Velazquez’s ‘Las Meninas’, Matisse’s ‘Portrait of Greta Prozor’ and ‘La tristesse du roi’. Participants will then be given a choice of four or five art works with the instruction to choose one and, very rapidly, write notes, taking the art work, or some detail they see in it, in whatever direction they choose. The purpose of such an experiment is to step away from one’s usual concerns and let the art work, or something in it, prompt the poem.

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Subjectivity and Translation 
Freya Daly Sadgrove
Saturday 1st October.12–1.30pm

We each have our own ways of using language – our own personal idiom that shapes and is shaped by our experiences. But languages also carry culture, and to use a language is to share in an inherited cultural perspective on the world. Poetry enables us to shift and bend the perspective we are communicating from, to push past its limitations and in doing so expand our, and our readers’, understanding of the world. 

And English! A coloniser and a notorious mutt! What better language to bully into new, truer shapes? Writing poetry in English is a wonderful opportunity to be naughty. What rules will you break? What assumptions will you undermine?

When I feel my writing practice getting tired, one of my favourite ways to wake it back up is by playing with translation. In this workshop we’ll use a range of “translation” tools and exercises to surprise ourselves with language, mess with our personal idiom, and explore our poetic subjectivity.

Please bring along:

  • A poem or song of someone else’s that you love – ideally one with lots of figurative imagery
  • An old poem of your own – ideally one that’s a bit embarrassing to read now
  • A device with internet capability

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Poetry Beyond the Page
Tamryn Bennett
Sunday 2nd October 11am–12.30pm

Led by poet, artist and Artistic Director of Red Room Poetry, Dr Tamryn Bennett, this workshop breaks open what poetry can be and do in our world. From growing forests to helping threatened species and supporting communities to voice their truths, our poems can create tangible change.  

Through a series of practical activities this workshop focuses on creating poetry that lives both on and beyond the page. 

Spanning experimental, conceptual, visual and performative origins of poetry, you’ll be guided to develop new poems and poetic works that reimagine linear boundaries shaped by the printing press.

The workshop will be divided in four sections:

  • Pasts – exploring historical and contemporary examples
  • Possibilities – what can poetry be and do? 
  • Practice – activities for generating new poems and projects
  • Paths – realising pathways to creation, publication, funding and partnerships 

Constructive feedback will be provided by Tamryn with opportunities for collaboration, Q&A, lots of practical activities and experimentation in a supportive creative context. 

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Poetry and the Folklore of Place
Barbara Temperton
Sunday 2nd October 1–2.30pm

The most incredible stories in poetry are not necessarily those built on the epic scale but formed closer to home as local narratives. These stories may be new and fresh or as familiar as the lines on the palms of our hands. 

Local narratives often have a basis in truth, are linked to a particular aspect of the landscape and serve multiple purposes. They inform, create a sense of identity and belonging to a place, serve as cautionary tales, a means of knowing the unknowable, and illustrate universal themes such as death and rebirth.

In the first half of the workshop, we will look at examples of local narrative; explore ideas about how one gathers stories; plot the stages of the development of a local narrative, and discuss how they can serve as a resource for poetry or song lyrics. I’ll share my techniques for transformation, and – in the second half of the session – participants will be invited to trial the process.

Support materials will be sent out before the workshop. Folk are welcome to bring a local story (e.g. historical characters and events, ghost stories, macabre occurrences), and I will also provide samples on the day. 

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Writing Elegy
Amy Lin 
Saturday 8th October 10–11.30am

Death and love are the two great subjects of poetry, and some say that grief is love with nowhere to go. So how do you write an elegy, essentially a love poem for someone who is gone? How do you give form to an experience that is underpinned by absence and lack? How do you avoid “emotional wallow” and sentimentality when writing of grief, one of the most intense emotional experiences? 

This workshop explores modern and contemporary elegies and examines how the form has evolved from the twentieth century to today. Participants will practise writing elegies, whether about a loved one, a pet, or some other lost thing, through the stimulus of writing exercises. 

The workshop will unpack how to write about grief and loss in a way that grounds the experience in the concrete, avoiding universal and tired abstractions, and maintaining a subtlety and maturity in relation to a feeling that can adapt and evolve, just like the words on the page.

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Box, Building, Obituary: Exploring Prose Poetry
Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Saturday 8th October 12–1.30pm

Prose poetry is a unique poetic form that subverts the expectations of enjambed poetry and creates a space that allows for greater play of association, memory and elastic temporality. The prose poem can be a box, full of keepsakes and hidden desires. It can be a room inside a building, bustling with life, brimming with intersecting narratives. It can also take on the form of an obituary, celebrating those who once were. 

In this workshop, participants will explore various approaches to prose poetry along with the work of a variety of poets, including Cassandra Atherton, Gertrude Stein and Victoria Chang. 

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Tapping the Roots of Memory 
Colin Young
Saturday 8th October 2–3.30pm

Memory is a powerful source of imagery and poetry. In this workshop writers will explore how stimulus, observation, emotion, and the senses can help recall details in memories. Combining these details with poetic techniques we will then use these memories to write poetry. 

Why is this important?
Memories, even of very recent events or scenes, can provide material for poetry. We are trapped in the present, and so it’s only by memory that we can retrieve our experiences, put them into a poem, and invite the reader / listener to experience them as well.

How will participants achieve their goal?
By evoking sensory details of memories, and exploring the various emotions associated with memories, each participant will build up a store of details about one or more memories.

What strategies will we use?
We will use sound, emotional associations, and other techniques such as sensory deprivation, to recall and focus on memories.

By the end of the session participants will be working with their own memories to help build the material for one or two poems. They will be working in small groups of three; each group will be presenting their poetry at the end of each session.

What skills do participants need?
Participants will apply whatever poetic techniques they already know, such as alliteration, assonance, rhyme, word-play, and use of original imagery. But they do not need to know all the techniques available: the group as a whole will be asked to suggest what techniques work best, and we will write up people’s responses on a whiteboard and discuss these.

What prompts, if any, will participants need to bring? 
None: I will supply everything in the way of stimuli. I will be bringing along some music and soundscape to play to the group. The one definite ‘prompt’ I will bring is a kind of abstract painting for everyone to look at.

I will also be supplying coloured textas and sheets of blank paper as part of the exercise.

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The Perth Poetry Festival 2022 is supported by: