2019 Perth Poetry Festival Workshops

graphics by Toto  De Waele

Queens Building, level 1, 97 William St. Perth

Cost per workshop
$25 Regular
$20 WA Poets Inc and Writers United members

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

Special Offer for all 9 workshops (to book, goto: https://www.trybooking.com/BCEBO)
$200 Regular
$160 WA Poets Inc and Writers United members

A booking fee applies to all purchases.

All workshops involve written exercises, please bring appropriate materials.



SIX OF THE BEST with Dean Meredith
Saturday 10thAug.

It’s a poetry workshop with a difference.

Imagine six of the best poets to ever grace our planet going head to head in the finals of the All Time World Championship of Poetry.

Two are famous ‘on the page’ poets.

Two are famous singers and song lyric writers.

Two are famous performance or spoken word artists.

Thanks to the magic of technology, dead poets will compete with live ones; with some pieces read or performed by the original poets, and others delivered by famous friends.

Who will win? Workshop participants judge and decide.



THE POETICS OF GRIEF with Scott-Patrick Mitchell
Saturday 10thAug.

Grief is an incredibly transformative experience. Through it, we try to understand the aching absence of our loss. Multifaceted in nature, grief occurs on emotional, physical, cognitive, behavioural, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical levels. By engaging in creative processes, such as the writing of poetry, we are able to articulate our own grief which, in turn, has the potential to assist others in processing their own personal experience of loss.

Workshop facilitator Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) will draw on his recent studies into Funeral Celebrancy to lead a workshop that explores the poetry and poetics of grief. SPM will equip participants with a vocabulary of rituals and symbols that accompany funerals and how these can enrich and focus the writing of poetry that deals with loss.

The poetry of poets who have passed away in 2019 – such as Mary Oliver, Gabriel Okara, W.S. Merwin, Linda Gregg and Meryl Manoy – will be touched on, examined and responded to. There will also be space for a discussion on how we, as poets, can be mindful in preparing our own legacy to eventually pass on.

Open to poets of beginning, intermediate and professional writing ability.

Bio:  Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) is a non-binary performance poet who lives and writes on Whadjuk Noongar Land. SPM’s work appears in Island, Southerly, Cordite, Westerly, Rabbit, Honey + Lime, Baby Teeth and many other journals, including anthologies such as Contemporary Australian Poetry.


FLESHING IT OUT with Ann Gilchrist
Sunday 11thAug.

This workshop will be limited to ten adult poets who are interested in writing in response to the exposed flesh of the human body. A male and a female model, with some degree of nudity, will help inspire you – reignite your passion, your memories or serve as an entree for fantasy. The workshop will be tasteful and provide stimuli encouraging poets to write sensual, evocative poetry, using language less obvious to the usual prompts. Poetry of the ‘show, don’t tell’ – style of writing – imagery, metaphor, sensual memory, fantasy etc…. (the use of a thesaurus is encouraged). There is no restriction as to what poets may choose to write.

Ann looks forward to meeting you over bubbles and nibbles for a relaxing sensual journey.


Sunday 11thAug.

regardless of what you haven’t yet conquered, you have finished every breath you started.
Maddie Godfrey

Poetry as a sustainable act. Poetry as a form of self-care.

How does writing our stories, and being present with our own narratives, constitute an act of self-preservation? In a time where both ‘self-care’ and ‘sustainability’ are buzz words and hashtags, most artists are still pushing themselves towards burn out. Maddie Godfrey believes that poetry can be used the same way as a cup of tea or a long bath – as a way of slowing down and taking a deep breath. This workshop will encourage participants to create their own autobiographical poetry, which uses mindfulness techniques to inform the writing process. Maddie will guide participants through stream-of- consciousness writing methods, which produce useful content rather than just rushed scribbles. Drawing on the idea of ‘a flow state’, which has been discussed extensively in psychology, Maddie will encourage participants to engage in a poetic practice which actively listens to their bodies and their brains.

Instead of constantly pushing ourselves to do more and work faster, what if we slowed down and focused on the sustainability of our creative practice? Come write slowly and sustainably, cups of tea provided.

Bio:Maddie Godfrey is an Australian-bred performance poet, writer, theatre maker and spoken word educator. She has been best described as “a poetry fireball” At 21, she has performed at the Sydney Opera House (Aus), The Royal Albert Hall (UK), Amnesty International UK, a TEDx Women event and the recent Glastonbury festival.

Maddie’s writing has been internationally published in magazines, anthologies, literary journals, on a poster and in various educational materials.


‘WHAT DO WE WANT…?!?’ with Vivienne Glance & Afeif Ismail
Wednesday 14 Aug


A workshop on poetry, power and activism

Social justice! Climate catastrophe! Inclusivity! Peace and non-violence!

Art has a long history of inspiring action for change. Many despots around the world jail the artists when they crackdown on their citizens, afraid their powerful voices will speak out against oppression and corruption.

This workshop will look at how poetry has inspired political change and we can use it to build a better world for all of us.

We will explore the use of rhetoric, metaphor and imagery to highlight issues; how different forms of poetry and poetic expression can be used in different situations; and how to communicate complex issues. Through discussion, writing exercises and collaborative support we will craft poetry that inspires action.

Come along with your burning concern for our country or for the world, and work on your poem for a better future!



Vivienne Glance is a poet, an activist and a former political candidate for the Greens. She uses poetry as a tool for raising awareness around issues and, for the past fifteen years, as an act of cross-cultural collaboration with Afeif Ismail. She has published 2 collections of poetry, and has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia where she is an Honorary Research Fellow ( see www.vivienneglance.com )

Afeif Ismail is an award-winning Sudanese-Australian poet and playwright and political activist and he has published 3 collections of poetry in English. He is also a member of Until We Return Cultural Group, committed to supporting the Sudanese people in their struggle against oppression.


Saturday 17thAug.

What we leave behind can impact or shape those who come after. How much of us will survive and carry forward? Possessions don’t always tell us much about the person, and the essence of a person may be lost over time—our memories and fears for example. Can memory be inherited?

Studies in mice have shown that ‘memory’ of trauma and fear can be inherited. In the classic experiment by Dias and Ressler (2013), mice which were conditioned to fear the scent of cherry blossom gave rise to descendants which exhibit the same fear without being conditioned. Similarly, humans who are descendants of holocaust survivors exhibit elevated stress responses compared to control populations. Could this kind of carryover to future generations explain, in part, the increasing incidence of mental illness and stress disorder among us, for example?

This workshop will explore the self from a connection we make with ancestors or a stranger we have encountered but never met. Discussion and exercises will be based on two writing prompts used to reconstruct and reinterpret our relationship to the past and present:

  1. Examples from other poets on how they write to the past and people they’ve never met, and
  2. Pictures of random people who are unrelated to you

In drafting the poems, you will consider similarities and contrasts and, in the process, reveal (perhaps unintentionally) something of yourself that may be of interest to future generations—those traces of you that will be left behind. Suitable for novices to experienced poets.


NEW CHAINS TO SET YOU FREE: Creative Disruption and Constraint-based Poems with Melinda Smith
Saturday 17thAug.

Join Melinda Smith for 90 minutes of serious play. We will explore several methods of creatively disrupting the writing process, including dipping a toe into the constantly evolving world of constraint-based writing. You will come away with a couple of very strange draft poems and some new strategies for refreshing your poetic voice. If poetry is language under pressure, there are plenty of ways to apply that pressure beyond metre and rhyme. Come explore them. Bring something to write with, something to write on, and an open mind. An internet enabled mobile phone will also come in handy but is not essential.”



ERASURE POETRY with Natalie D-Napoleon
Sunday 18thAug.

If you’re a writer who enjoys word puzzles, yet staring at a blank page gives you writer’s block, then erasure poetry may be just right for you.

Erasure poetry seeks to create a new text from a found object, be that a newspaper article, pages from a book, or an advertising flyer. It can be fun and whimsical whilst also making incisive social or political commentary. Erasure poets usually create their poetry by blacking out or whiting out words on a page. Writers and visual artists like Austin Kleon have published popular books of erasure poetry such as “Newspaper Blackout,” and the form is now being taken seriously with POETRY magazine recently publishing its first erasure poems.

In this workshop erasure poet Natalie D-Napoleon will begin with a brief introduction to the origins and history of erasure poetry, then participants will work on creating their own erasure poem, or poems. Participants will use white-out tape or sharpies to create works from provided texts, or poets can bring their own book or text to erase. Collage supplies will also be provided for those who wish to combine images and text with their erasures.



INK ADVENTURES with Peter Bakowski
Sunday 18thAug.

Drawing on 36 years’ experience of writing poems, Melbourne poet, Peter Bakowski, will, in the time allotted, address, poets at any level, fearlessly addressing the blank page, sifting their life experience, powers of observation and reflection, for “seeds” from which new poems will arise.

Pitfalls in poetry will be also addressed, to encourage poets away from limitation and threadbare territories of poetry. There will be poetry exercises to awaken poets to the idea of challenge and flexibility, for poets to widen their range of subject matter and reference.

Poets will come away from Peter’s workshop fired up, looking at poetry and its tributaries closely and with greater depth. Peter will remind those attending of the adventure of writing poems.

Peter has given fully subscribed poetry workshops throughout Australia and China, at universities and to urban and regional writing groups.

His poems continue to appear in literary journals worldwide and regularly in translation.

The 2019 Perth Poetry Festival receives funds from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund and is supported by:

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