2017 Perth Poetry Festival Workshops

All workshops are at the Northbridge Piazza Community Room (behind the big screen, corner James & Lake St., Northbridge).

All workshops will involve written exercises, please bring appropriate materials.

Workshops facilitated by:

Mags Webster

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Dennis Haskell

Andy Jackson

Susan Fealy

Luis H. Francia

To Book workshops goto: https://www.trybooking.com/QNMP

Cost (booking fees apply)

$20 per workshop
$15 per workshop (WA Poets Inc members and concession)

Special Offer for all 6 workshops

$75 (WA Poets Inc members and concession)

Back to top

Bird Language: with Mags Webster 

Sunday 13 Aug. 10 – 11.30am

They used unsayable words. Bird language.’ Rumi, Imra’u ’l-qays

How might we break away from our own words to explore other voices? Suitable for beginners, or more experienced writers looking to refresh themselves, this workshop explores techniques that introduce play and experimentation to the poetic process.

Back to top

The original workshop –The Possibilities of Rhyme with Dennis Haskell, has to been cancelled for personal reasons and has been replaced with:

Writing on The Wall: Poetry & Place with Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Sunday 13 Aug. 12pm noon – 1.30pm

Imagine walking through the city and you encounter a poem written on a wall. What would the poem say? What would it make you feel? How would it change the course of your day?

In this workshop we explore the parallels between street art culture and poetry and how the use of language in the former can influence the dynamic of the latter. As inspiration, participants will be given a crash course in street art culture and it’s history from around the world and how this global phenomenon transforms the public space, adding layers to not only language, but also locale and form.


Back to top


The Possibilities of Rhyme with Dennis Haskell

Saturday 19 Aug. 10 – 11.30am

This workshop follows my talk for the 2016 Poetry Festival and looks at the possibilities of rhyme for contemporary poets. Rhyme over the last one hundred years has had a checkered career; it was abjured during the Modernist period and afterwards, beginning with T S Eliot and Ezra Pound’s call for a revolution in the writing of verse. Eliot wrote, “it is possible that excessive devotion to rhyme has thickened the English ear” and that “When the comforting echo of rhyme is removed, success or failure in the choice of words, in the sentence structure, in the order, is at once more apparent”. Eliot and Pound later tried to turn back the tide but couldn’t, so that free verse has been the dominant form of English poetry for over a century.

This has been less true in English verse than in American and Australian, suggesting that social conditions have an effect on the usability of rhyme. We live in an age of pop music and advertising slogans, which help make strong rhymes jingle in our ears. Rhyme is prominent in rap and in slam poetry but this workshop is concerned with poetry written principally to be read on the page. Rhyme is part of the music of language and has possibilities beyond strong rhyme, in part-rhyme, internal rhyme and assonance that can add significantly to the power of a contemporary poem.

The workshop will begin with consideration of what some recent and contemporary poets have done with rhyme, and then consider participants’ work. You are asked to submit (beforehand if possible to wapoets@gmail.com with “Haskell” as the subject) one short poem that does not rhyme and/or one short poem that does.

Back to top

“I am an Other”: (Auto)Biographical Poetry with Andy Jackson

Saturday 19 Aug. 12pm noon – 1.30pm

Every poet has their own unique voice. But sometimes they can also vividly take on the voice that comes from another body – a loved one, family member, political leader, cultural icon, figure of history, etc. How do poets manage to do this? Purely through research? Imagination? Empathy?

In this workshop – for emerging and developing poets – we will explore various kinds of poetry, discuss the techniques and ethics of (auto)biographical writing, and start writing new poems.

Back to top

Writing Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell’s Ideas with Susan Fealy

Sunday 20 Aug. 10 – 11.30am

This workshop is designed to generate new work by offering a novel approach to poem-making.  In keeping with the idea that a poem is a container that holds feeling, elements of the real world, and silence, a writing exercise inspired by the creative practice of the visual artist Joseph Cornell will guide you towards starting a new poem. This workshop will be fun, and with some luck, there might be some magic. The workshop will include small group reflections on the experience of the writing exercise and explore how to adapt these processes in the future.

Participants will need to bring

  • a ruler
  • scissors
  • two small objects of personal significance (each small enough to fit inside your
  • Optional: a small photograph/image of someone who provokes
    strong feelings in you. It could be an intimate, a political/historic
    figure or you!

Back to top

Stop Making Sense! with Luis H. Francia

Sunday 20 Aug. 12pm noon – 1.30pm

You don’t need to write about something in order to write a lyrical poem.

Poems are written with words, not ideas. Taking its title from a Talking Heads song, this workshop uses verbal play, emphasizing lyricism and non-narrative technique. (Think jazz.)

We will explore word-sounds and what these suggest, without regard to meaning. Meaning will be arrived at rather than be predetermined. We will create non-sense that actually makes sense!

Participants will do exercises based on material handed out. These will enable each participant to craft a short poem. The workshop will be fun and instructive!

2017 Perth Poetry Festival is part of the City of Perth Winter Arts Season and supported by:


2017 Festival Block logos LS