WA Poets Inc (WAPoets), as part of the 2023 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
$30 WAPoets and Writers United members, Students and Pensioners.
To book for workshops at Centre for Stories goto: https://www.trybooking.com/CIUBN
To book for Healing Through the Power of Poetry ($30/$25) goto; https://www.trybooking.com/CKQRF
To book for Hermit Crab Forms in Poetry ($30/$25) goto; https://www.trybooking.com/CLHZX
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
Centre for Stories. 100 Aberdeen St. Northbridge
WAPoets Office Level 2 Room 33, 80 Barrack St. Perth
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 emerging.
Sunday 10th September
10am–12pm How We Look at Poetry Srijato
Friday 15 September
These two workshops are at WA Poets Office, Bon Marche Arcade, Level 2, Room 33, 80 Barrack St. Perth.
10am–12pm Healing Though the Power of Poetry Samantha Melia
1–3pm Hermit Crab Forms in Poetry Arianne True
Poetry and the Body Luoyang Chen
Saturday 9th September, 9–11am
In the first part of this workshop, we will be reading, examining, experiencing, refusing and embracing the relationships between Body and Poetry. The predominant objective of this part concerns the location of the body in relation to poetry. The selected readings (creative and critical) are to assist you to navigate the body-poetry land/space: the body in the poetry, the body of poetry, and the poetry in, about, and of the body, for example. This workshop can be overwhelming as it will be held in a shared space (I hope it is safe, for you and for myself) in which we are expected to confront the traumatic histories of colonial violence, sexual violence, racial violence, and linguistic violence in the readings and discussions. We will discuss our own writing practices in this body-poetry thread. We will also be reading, discussing, and potentially responding to the poetry of Bhanu Kapil, M. NourbeSe Philip, Ocean Vuong, Sylvia Plath, Andrew Sutherland, Ray White, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, and John Mukky Burke. The second part of this workshop will take us to what I would call the “anti-lyric lyric poetics”. How to write lyric poems that are not narcissistic? Ironically, we will be reading and investigating my own poetry. We will also be reading the poetry of Lucy Van, Alison Whittaker, Sappho, Autumn Royal, Nadia Rhook and more. The objective of this part is to write (and read, and live) reflectively, to be aware of the “I”, to ponder, to contemplate, to look at the ambiguity between the Subject and the Object, to examine the Narratives that one creates— the intentions and effects of them on others as well as on themselves. Or you will hate me.
Peripatetic Poetry: From the Transient to the Immutable Talya Rubin
Saturday 9th September, 11.30am–1.30pm
As poets, we often spend our time at a desk in a room, reading, reflecting, and watching the world go by before landing words on the page. We are stationary beings with moving minds attempting to capture the interplay of the exterior and interior of our lives through the act of recording in time and space. Throughout history philosophers and writers have used the practice of walking to bring thought into the body, shift our pace, and as a way of reflecting the world back to ourselves and others. Walking can bring a different rhythm to our contemplations, trigger memories, associations, and ways of being in the world that can then translate on the page through the written word in disarming and enlivening ways.
The psychogeography of wandering can be traced back to Aristotle who walked and talked as philosophical practice as part of the “Peripatetics”, from the ancient Greek, peripatētikós, “given to walking about”. And even further back in history, Japanese poet, Basho, walked for five months composing The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Poets like Frank O’Hara, Paul Vallery, Apollinaire, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Baudelaire, Gary Snyder, as well as writers from Thoreau to Dorothy Wordsworth and Virginia Woolf have all used walking as artistic practice to bring them closer to the centre of themselves and their relationship to the world. Walking can allow the rhythm of the outer world to interact with the musings, observations, liminal spaces, and unknown places of the inner one.
In this workshop we will explore some theory and background on writing as artistic practice and use writing exercises to open up our memories and our senses before we set off on foot through the city. We will stop and pause, record some notes, images, and ideas, and return to the great indoors to write a few poems.
We will further explore the flâneur, a French term that originally had connotations of a time waster until the poet Baudelaire redefined is as not simply a loafer, or layabout, but a detached wanderer through modern life. And we will be sure to include the flâneuse in art, reflected in the work of artists such as Agnes Varda, Sophie Valle and Virginia Woolf.
This simple act of walking can open portals in the imagination and connections we might never have discovere when stationary. Let’s explore walking as artistic practice together, wheelchairs, walking sticks, and slow pokes more than welcome!
Riposte Lisa Collyer
Saturday 9th September, 2–4pm
A reader demands to be seen and enters an imagined relationship with an author of a text.
We don’t write in isolation. Every poem is a conversation with another text. Whether we’re alluding to, or resisting a text’s representation, we are talking back. What does it mean to subvert the representations in texts for an alternative and layered reading?
Engage with and disrupt texts to write to the gaps and silences. Join Lisa Collyer (poet and educator) in deconstructing literary works and popular culture to create response poems that turn back the gaze, be playful, and take risks.
Ages: 16 plus
No experience necessary.
Lisa Collyer is a poet and educator living and working in Boorloo (Perth). She writes poetry about women’s bodies like the jagged edge of a can opened-up. She has been published in Westerly, Cordite, Rabbit, Australian Poetry Anthology and more. She was an Inspire writer-in-residence with The National Trust of W.A. and was short-listed for The Dorothy Hewett Award for her unpublished manuscript. Her debut collection, How to Order Eggs Sunny Side Up will be published with Life Before Man, the poetry imprint of Gazebo Books in September 2023.
How We Look at Poetry Srijato
Sunday 10th September, 10am–12pm
This interactive workshop will focus on our overall and individual views and outlook about poetry. The discussion will encompass the various ways we look at poetry and how we connect to it through our experiences. The focal point of the workshop would be to unveil our inner self towards poetry and have an in-depth look at our processes relating to poetry.
The workshop will be conducted in four consecutive phases as follows:
- I will talk about my views and experiences on poetry as well as its writing process. I will share my overall and personal views on poetry and how I relate to it, as well as express myself through it.
2. I would like to hear what the participants think about poetry and what are their individual take on it.
3. We will pick a few subjects on which I would request the participants to write a short poem within a given time frame. There will be an option to read out afterwards and we can have a small introspective discussion over that.
4. Lastly, we will have an interactive session welcoming questions and thoughts from the participants as well as me.
Healing Through the Power of Poetry. Samantha Melia
Friday 15 September, 10am–12pm
Expressing the subconscious mind through poetry.
“Everywhere l go as a scientist, l find that a poet has beaten me there” Sigmund Freud
We all have a story to tell. A unique interpretation of the world around us because of the world within us. By writing we increase our self-awareness, heal emotional wounds and make sense of our lives. By finding our voice and sharing our truth we focus on what’s important and we determine our reason for being, which leads to a profound sense of contentment.
When we process and articulate painful experiences we bring relief. We see that words have power and by creating a work of art from the pain it offers a feeling of empowerment. By being still in ourselves we find inner peace and deep reflection, we allow ourselves to be intimate and vulnerable. The spoken word has immense healing ability.
Reading our poetry out loud can be a form of therapy by releasing trapped emotions in the body, where they are held, out of the body and onto the page.
This unique workshop offers mental wellness, expanding awareness and creativity.
To book for this workshop click here
Samantha Melia, originally from Dublin, studied psychology and sociology and has a Higher National Diploma in Social Care @ Ballyfermot Senior College, and a BSC Hons Social Psychology and Sociology, 2:1 @ University of Ulster. She has always had a deep passion and love for the written word, especially poetry. Although she has consistently written poetry, she has only recently completed her first collection of poetry, Love and Loss. She writes about her travels, childhood, birth, death, self-discovery and experiences that shape the conscious and subconscious mind. She also produces her poetry with images on canvas.
Hermit Crab Forms in Poetry with Arianne True
Friday 15 September, 1–3pm
Hermit crab forms are an accessible but more experimental type of writing where the poem or story “moves in” to another form of (non-literary) writing, like a hermit crab moves into the shell of another critter. In this workshop, we will look at what hermit crab forms are, when to use them, what they’re especially effective for, then read some examples and write our own.
Please be aware that Arianne has a fragrance sensitivity and we request that you do not apply perfume or deodorant before attending this workshop.
To book your place, click on the following link: https://www.trybooking.com/CLHZX
Beyond Words — A Liminal Spaces Workshop with Indrani Perera
Saturday 16th September, 9–11am
Has the muse left you and inspiration fled? Do you find it hard to put into words your feelings, thoughts and emotions? Are you stuck in a rut with your writing — revisiting the same metaphors and line breaks time and time again? How can you see the world with new eyes so that your writing becomes fresh and imaginative once more?
The key to writing differently is to learn to think and do things differently. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds as anyone who’s tried to break a habit will know. But it is possible and in this workshop you’ll get out of your head and creep into the cracks by exploring the spaces in between. Bring your child-like self, a sense of adventure and a willingness to play. Through movement, sound and drawing you’ll discover how to write poems that move beyond the page.
The best results will occur when you can leave your ego at the door and bring along your curiosity and a willingness to look silly, maybe even ridiculous. We spend so much time in our heads, thinking and worrying about other people and our own preconceived ideas that we forget we’re more than just a head stuck on top of a body. To counter this tendency, we’re going to be moving down from our brains and into our bodies.
When you think about the word image what comes to mind? Most of the time we think about what we can see. But in poetry, an image is also something that can be experienced with any of our other senses. So an image could also be a description of bread baking in an oven which evokes our sense of smell. We’ll be using sound and our sense of hearing to extend our range beyond the visual.
As a tool to tap into those spaces between our thoughts, this workshop will also explore different ways of using pen and paper. Bring along any art supplies that feel inspiring (coloured pencils, textas, watercolour paints, pastels) as well as journals, sheets of blank paper etc. It’s an excuse to go wild in the stationery section. If you want to stick with pen and paper that’s fine too but no screens please.
This workshop is suitable for poets at any level from emerging to established. There will be time during the workshop to share your work with the rest of the group. Sharing is optional and positive feedback is encouraged. Please come at least 5 minutes early so we can start on time.
Poetry of Human Suffering and Politics Juan Garrido-Salgado
Saturday 16th September, 11.30am–1.30pm
My workshop will focus on political and social justice poetry, which I am passionate about it. These themes have been part of my literary development since I started writing poems in 1975, when I discovered the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Roque Dalton.
During the struggle against the military dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), poetry was always present. Even in prison, I wrote poems which were later included in my book: Vaiantes de la Libertad Definitiva, published in Chile under the pseudonym of Samuel Lafferte.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pinochet’s fascist coup (1973-2023); who murdered and disappeared thousands of my people. My poetry and this workshop are inscribed in this significant event.
In 1990, in Australia, I translated Aboriginal poets Robert Walker and Lionel Fogarty into Spanish. I also translated other Aboriginal poets into Spanish for the poetry collection: Earth Mirror Poetry Anthology, edited by Peter Minter.
I continue to write social justice poetry about the refugee issue in Australia, with many Australian friend and poets, and the support of Janet Galbraith, the director of the Writing Through the Fence project.
- Introduction of poets who will be part of the literary exercises, such as Pablo Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1972 (Chile); Roque Dalton, guerrilla poet from El Salvador; Miguel Hernández, poet who died in prison during the Spanish Civil War (1936); and Cesar Vallejo, Peruvian poet.
- Freedom of speech exercise
- Political resistance exercise
- Exploring social justice exercises.
I will use an electronic presentation during the workshop, and we will have time to read, discuss and write poems inspired by the above poets.
I will end the workshop with a brief but powerful dramatized presentation of the poem:
ODE TO THE SIMPLE MAN by Pablo Neruda.
Dramatis Personae: Writing in Masks Caitlin Maling
Sunday 17th September, 10am–12pm
What does it mean to write a poem using a persona? Whether we call it a dramatic monologue or simply writing from behind a mask, this workshop will push poets to ask what freeing themselves from their usual writing perspective might do for their poetry. For beginning poets, or those who are unsure/afraid of how to start writing poetry, a mask offers a risk-free starting point, often with a built-in narrative to explore outwards from. Examining historical and contemporary uses of masks from Browning to Berryman to Beyonce, we will think about how changing the speaker of a poem changes the poetic techniques used in the poem. If we change who is speaking, we need to change the words they use, how they bring them together in sentences and what the lines look like across the page. Beyond poetics, this workshop aims to help poets use personae to break free of writer’s block and existing patterns and add complexity to their poems through the layering of narratives, texts and subjectivities. Participants will be provided with all poems to be examined but need to bring their own preferred writing materials.
Inherited Treasure: The Poetry of Family Objects Jean Kent
Sunday 17th September, 12.30–2.30pm
Objects handed down through families are rich with personal meaning and memories. Whether these things are as obviously valuable as a grandmother’s opal engagement ring or a father’s old watch, or as unremarkable and banal as a bottle or buttons or a tin of nails, such inherited “treasures” are all tangible links with the past. They offer us powerful cues for poems which can speak universally, whilst also celebrating our own unique stories.
In this session, you will be encouraged to respond to some ordinary objects in different ways: factually, with close attention to concrete details; and more freely and intuitively, following emotions and associations. Through word play and focused exercises, you will create a short draft which could become a poem.
You will then be guided through some techniques to shape and polish the writing, as well as some ideas of how you might deepen and strengthen this into a poem later. Topics covered will include understanding forms and poetic features such as imagery, metaphor, rhythm and line breaks; the importance of music and silence in a poem; help with developing distance from your first draft; and ways of refreshing your language.
I will share my own experiences of how powerfully family objects can lead to poetry by talking about the writing of my book length sequence of poems, The Shadow Box. Much of the writing for this book, which recreates the lives of my grandparents during and shortly after World War One, began with discoveries of things my grandparents owned – treasures both large and small, which were like “genies’ lamps / waiting to bring back lives with one rub”.
As my writing process has always been slow, from a fast and often messy first draft to the final crafted poem, I will also share examples of my own drafting and revising process, which I hope will be reassuring and enlightening – plus some survival strategies I learned over the ten years of shaping this family history into a published book.
The 2023 Perth Poetry Festival receives funds from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australia Cultural Fund and is supported by;