2020 Perth Poetry Festival Guest Biographies


International Poet

Michael Dylan Welch (USA, via Zoom) has been investigating haiku and related poetry since 1976. He founded his press, Press Here, in 1989, and cofounded Haiku North America (HNA) in 1991 and the American Haiku Archives in 1996. He founded the Tanka Society of America in 2000, the Seabeck Haiku Getaway in 2008, and National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo.com) in 2010. Michael was keynote speaker for the 2013 Haiku International Association convention in Tokyo. He is president of the Redmond Association of Spokenword, and has also curated monthly SoulFood Poetry Night readings since 2006. He served as poet laureate of Redmond, Washington from 2013 to 2015. Michael has published his poetry, essays, and reviews in hundreds of journals and anthologies in more than twenty languages, and has also published numerous books, the most recent of which include Sitting in the Sun (the 2019 HNA conference anthology), Jumble Box (NaHaiWriMo anthology), Seven Suns / Seven Moons (with Tanya McDonald), Off the Beaten Track: A Year in Haiku (with eleven other poets), and Becoming a Haiku Poet, among other collections. Michael lives in Sammamish, Washington.

National Poets

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David McCooey (Vic., via Zoom) is a prize-winning poet and critic. He is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, the latest of which is Star Struck (UWA Publishing, 2016). His poetry has been widely anthologised, and it appeared in ten of the last eleven editions of The Best Australian Poems series. He is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). He is also a sound artist. His latest album (with Paul Hetherington) is The Apartment (2018). He lives in Geelong, where he is a professor of Writing and Literature at Deakin University.

David Stavanger 2020 (2).jpgDavid Stavanger (Qld) is an award-winning poet, performer, cultural producer, editor and lapsed psychologist. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in The Special (UQP), which was also awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. He was selected as a 2018 Melbourne Visiting Poet by RMIT/Australian Poetry. David co-edited Australian Poetry Journal’s 8.2 SPOKEN edition (2018) and Rabbit Journal’s TENSE issue (2019), and is co-editor with Anne-Marie Te Whiu of SOLID AIR: Australian & New Zealand Spoken Word (2019, UQP) which is the first ever anthology of spoken word in this region. He was Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival from 2015-17 and currently works as a Senior Project Manager for Red Room Poetry. David is also known as Green Room-nominated spoken word artist Ghostboy, winning the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup and helping to establish poetry slam in Australia. His latest collection Case Notes was released by UWAP in 2020.  These days he lives between the stage and the page.

Local Poets


Fable Goldsmith is a gender diverse artist, performance poet, athlete, and queer mother of three children living with disabilities. Fable began writing in 2017, and has since gone on to win the Western Australian Slam Final in 2018 and 2019, performing to sell-out crowds in the National Finals at the Sydney each year.

Fable is a Fremantle Press Emerging Writer, whose work is autobiographical in nature and often loaded, confronting, honest, and heartbreaking. Their poetry exposes who we are and the beauty, strength and fragility that exist within adversity. Fable’s poetry is their vision for awareness, understanding, acceptance and change.

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Samantha Melia, originally from Dublin, Ireland studied psychology and sociology, After graduation, she went traveling and settled in the Bronx, NYC for ten years. She relocated to Perth, Western Australia, where she currently lives with her Irish husband and two daughters Realtin age 7 and Regan age 4.

Samantha has always had a deep passion and love for the written word, especially poetry. Although she has always written poetry, she has recently completed her first collection of poetry Love and Loss which will be available soon. 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.

Mike Williams

Mike Williams writes poetry and fiction. His two novels, Old Jazz and The Music of Dunes, were published by Fremantle Press. Some of his fiction and poems have appeared in various literary journals. He currently works for a bookshop in Perth and is tapping away at a collection of short fiction and poetry when time permits.

 The 2020 Perth Poetry Festival is supported by;

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