Melinda Smith

Join Melinda Smith to explore the world of the archive and its potential for poetry.


We'll think about issues of power and narrative control as we explore techniques for working with archival text including making found poems, erasures, and text manipulations. Feel free to bring your own archival raw materials. This workshop will cover four days from Sunday, 10th to Wednesday, 13th October, with the first and last sessions conducted live over Zoom, and the middle two devoted to working at your own pace through notes and exercises. Participants will be encouraged to share and discuss work on a dedicated Google Drive, and Melinda will be available via email for the duration of the course.

Your Facilitator: Melinda Smith

ACT poet Melinda Smith is the author of seven books, most recently Man-handled (Recent Work Press, 2020). She won the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call, and is a former poetry editor of the Canberra Times. She's also recently co-edited the Australian Poetry Anthology (Vol. 8) with Sara Saleh, and Borderless: a transnational anthology of feminist poetry, with Saba Vasefi and Yvette Holt.


Melinda has worked extensively with archival materials and found text /objects in her own poetry, including Hansard speeches, vintage signage used in Old Parliament House, Wikipedia articles, newspaper reports from last century and the one before, lists of sexist comments shortlisted for a 'worst sexist comment' award, media statements by politicians and public figures, a mass shooter's pre-spree VLOG, Bible verses, alt-text photograph captions from news websites, and photographs of a War Bride's wedding dress held in the National Museum of Australia.

Finding Poems in the Archive

with Melinda Smith

October 10th-13th:

Sunday, October 10th, 7:30pm - 9pm, Online

Wednesday, October 13th, 7:30 - 9pm, Online 

 Monday & Tuesday 11th & 12th of October asynchronous (not live) 

Desmond F. X. Kon

The Epistolary Form: The Understated Brilliance of Letter-Writing
with Desmond F.X. Kon

Friday, October 15, 2021
7pm - 9pm

Desmond F. X. Kon eplores The Epistolary Form: The Understated Brilliance of Letter-Writing

The epistolary novel is both admired and criticized for its confessional intimations. What are the limitations of framing a poem through this lens? What are the perks? Why do poets take up the genre, and what kinds of documents—apart from letters—are used? What are the narratological complexities that an author may experiment with? What distinct techniques may be employed to manipulate and further narrative elements? Join Desmond F. X. Kon ZC-MD, as we discuss the beautiful demands of the genre for both author and reader. Participants will also try their hand at such textual ingenuity.

Your Facilitator: Desmond F. X. Kon

DESMOND Francis Xavier KON Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, and nine poetry collections. A former journalist, he has edited more than twenty books and co-produced three audiobooks. Trained in publishing at Stanford University, Desmond holds a world religions masters from Harvard University and creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame. Among other accolades, he is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, National Indie Excellence Book Award, Poetry World Cup, Singapore Literature Prize, and three Living Now Book Awards. Desmond helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor. He can be found here

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Harry Laing

Comic and Poetic! Writing and Performing Comic Poetry
With Harry Laing

Saturday, October 16, 2021
10am - 12pm

Harry Laing brings you Comic and Poetic!

Writing and Performing Comic Poetry.


The good news is about writing comic poetry is that you know when it’s working because the feedback is instant. People laugh or at least look like they want to. Your job is to land the subjects that’ll strike a comic chord. This workshop is aimed at anyone who wants to explore their comic potential in poem form – could be ballad, monologue, rap or other. Mining the rich seams of the quotidian, nailing the satirical and the political and above all playing with language, daring to juxtapose, juggling sound and sense, relishing the absurd and the surprising. Getting out of those grooves that you would normally fall into. And with reference to various poets who have exploited these comic possibilities. There’ll also be time to hone your performance skills with tips on how to create maximum comic effect.

Your Facilitator: Harry Laing

Harry Laing is a poet, comic performer and children’s author. His most recent collection unsettled contains a good swag of comic poems and he describes his poetry for children as 98% fun. He MC’s and performs his satirical/ topical/ political poems at the PoetryAlive@Stanley Street Gallery readings (Darlinghurst.) He has also given many public readings and written and performed 8 solo shows.

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The Haiku Journey, 2021
With Owen Bullock

Monday, October 18, 2021
10am - 12pm
Owen Bullock

Owen Bullock shares with us The Haiku Journey, 2021


Haiku has had a long evolution. It began with long-form Japanese poetry resembling ‘free verse’, which spawned the ‘envoy’, a short summary of the longer poem, which became popular, and known first as waka and later as tanka. As waka evolved, they tended to be written in two sections: an observation of nature followed by a personal or philosophical reflection on it. Waka were also written in sequences, in the literary parlour game known as renga. Some, like Bashō, were particularly adept at composing the observation and wrote them for their own sake – they later became known as haiku. In this virtual workshop, we’ll hear examples of each of these forms and focus on the ‘envoy’, renga and haiku, condensing time in a rapid celebration of the whole haiku journey. Please bring a longer, free verse poem to the workshop to use in one of the exercises. 

Your Facilitator: Owen Bullock

Owen Bullock is originally from Cornwall and lived for 25 years in Aotearoa New Zealand before migrating to Australia in 2014. He began writing haiku in 1999 and has published four collections: Wild Camomile (Post Pressed, 2009); Breakfast with Epiphanies (Oceanbooks, 2012); Urban Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2015), and River’s Edge (Recent Work Press, 2016). He is a former editor of Kokako, New Zealand’s only specialist haiku magazine, and was one of the editors who produced Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Vol IV (Kei Books, 2012). He has also published three books of longer poems, Sometimes the sky isn’t big enough (Steele Roberts, 2010); Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017), and Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2016), as well as the novella, A Cornish Story (Palores, 2010). Owen holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Canberra where he currently teaches.

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"Radical Empathy: Writing in Persona"
with Jeanie Thompson

Saturday, October 23, 2021
10am - 12pm
Jeanie Thompson

Jeanie Thompson brings a Workshop entitled

"Radical Empathy: Writing in Persona" 


The term “radical empathy” has been used lately to indicate the need for urgency in seeing the world from someone else’s point of view. This generative workshop will include a discussion of the craft of persona poems within the context of our current cultural drive to connect and empathize as never before.  The persona poem, or writing in persona, is widely known and practiced in contemporary poetry but dates back to Greek tragedy, so humans have been working on this for a while.  Robert Browning catapulted the dramatic monologue into the 20th century and the persona poem evolved with the modernists. Today, poets find the mode of writing “in persona” useful to enter a character who impels us to think about ourselves and our community. The purpose of this workshop is to guide participants who want to know more about writing in persona – the do’s and don’ts of evoking a speaker’s voice, how to indicate an auditor, how to make use of scene, and incorporate reactions from other speakers. After discussing sample poems, we will brainstorm targeting a subject, elements of individual poems that continue to build the persona and structuring a sequence. The goal is to introduce basic aspects of writing in another person's voice (i.e. in persona), how to empathize deeply, even radically, with the speaker/ subject, and listen for the voice that emerges in these poems.   Each participant will have at least one opportunity to share work written during the workshop for peer feedback.


Your Facilitator: Jeanie Thompson

Jeanie Thompson is a poet, literary arts educator, and arts advocate in Montgomery, Alabama USA. Her collections include The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller; The Seasons Bear Us; White for Harvest; Witness; and How to Enter the River.

Jeanie holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama, where she was founding editor of the literary journal Black Warrior Review.  Jeanie founded and directs the Alabama Writer's Forum, a statewide literary arts organization whose signature literary arts program, Writing Our Stories, focusses on justice-involved youth. She is a poetry faculty member of Spalding University's School of Professional and Creative Writing

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Kimberly K. Williams

What Is That Thing?! Playing with
Hybrid Forms of Poetry
With Kimberly K. Williams

Friday, October 29, 2021
10am - 12pm

Kimberly K. Williams asks the question: What is that Thing?! and brings us an understanding of how to play with hybrid forms of poetry.


It's an exciting time to be writing poetry! Poets in the 21st century are busy blending forms and genres to make new types of hybrid poems. In this workshop, we will study a few of the more popular hybrid forms and read poems by authors who play with hybridity. We'll also have some fun playing with them, too. Please join Kimberly for a lively workshop that will be hands on. 

Your Facilitator: Kimberly K. Williams

Kimberly K Williams is the author of two books, Sometimes a Woman (Recent Work Press) and Finally, the Moon, (Stephen F Austin University Press). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas El Paso. Kimberly was short-listed for the University of Canberra's Vice-Chancellor's Poetry Prize in 2019, and her poems appear in many journals and anthologies around the world. After twenty years of writing and teaching in the U.S. Southwest, Kimberly moved to Canberra to work on a PhD. She currently serves as the director of the Poetry on the Move festival. She is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

James E. Cherry

The Poetry of History: An Intersection of Fact and Free Verse
with James E. Cherry

Saturday, October 30, 2021
10am - 12pm

The Poetry of History: An Intersection of Fact and Free Verse

The workshop will engage participants with writing exercises that explore both our personal histories and those of political and social consequence.  The first half of the workshop will focus on the internal history of our lives that still influences who we are and directs our decisions today. This could include family dynamics, the death of a loved one, childbirth or miscarriage, sex and sexual/gender identity, etc.  The second half of the workshop will focus on the external forces of history and how they have shaped our worldview and our own humanity: The Covid19 pandemic, years of police brutality, right wingers and progressives, space travel, a woman's right to choose etc.


Your Facilitator: James E. Cherry

James E Cherry is the author of six books: a poetry chapbook, two full collections of poetry and two novels. His latest novel, Edge of the Wind, was published in 2016 from Stephen F Austin State University Press and will be re-released in a new edition in 2022. He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, a Lillian Smith Book Award and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Fiction. His work has been published in Nigeria, Canada, France, and China, and is forthcoming out of Singapore. Cherry has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and resides in Tennessee.

Paul Munden

Authorised Theft
with Paul Munden

Sunday, October 24, 2021
Sunday, October 31, 2021
5pm - 6pm

Including online, asynchronous discussions in between

Paul Munden brings you an intriging workshop entitled Authorised Theft

As we experience more of life, our poetry tends to reflect that. But we also find new reason for delving further back, into the archive of our memories. In this workshop we will not only pursue new connections of our own, across time, but open our archives to others, so that our output from the shared endeavour may evolve more collaboratively. 


Participants are encouraged to give some prior thought to things in the past (even small, intriguing moments) that they have not as yet addressed within their poetry, but which might just prove useful seeds or fertile ground for this experiment. A short opening workshop will discuss initial thoughts; participants will then share their emerging work over the following week, gaining feedback from Paul – and each other. Everyone will come together again for a final session, to read the poems in their latest versions, and discuss how useful the process has been. Paul's website can be found here.

Your Facilitator: Paul Munden

Paul Munden is a poet, editor and screenwriter living in North Yorkshire. A Gregory Award winner, he has published five poetry collections, including Chromatic (UWA Publishing, 2017), with a sixth, Amplitude, to be published in 2022 by Recent Work Press. He is editor of various poetry anthologies, most recently Divining Dante (Recent Work Press, 2021), and is the current poetry editor of Westerly magazine. For the British Council he has covered a number of scientific and humanitarian themes as conference poet and edited the anthology, Feeling the Pressure: Poetry and science of climate change (British Council, 2008). He was director of the UK's National Association of Writers in Education, 1994-2018, and is now an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canberra, where he established the Poetry on the Move festival.

Poetry on the Move
Free Festival Events

No Registration Required

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Cover Image: detail from Wendy Sharpe,'The woman that she was', oil on linen, 90 x 76cm, 2020


'Saba Vasefi, Editor-in-chief

Borderless International Poetry Anthology
Presented in partnership with Australian Poetry via the Cultural Fund.

Saturday, October 16, 2021
7pm - 8:30pm


Zoom link:

This event is FREE.
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'Borderless: a Transnational Anthology of Feminist Poetry presents a collection of brand new, specially commissioned poems from a wide range of contemporary poets reflecting on feminism in its broadest sense. While it builds on the work of previous anthologies, in this one the voices of First Nations, refugee and migrant poets are a deliberate focus. These poems plunge the reader deep into the experience of life in the world, at this moment, in a woman’s body, and explore multitudinous versions of what that can mean.

Join Borderless Editor-in-Chief Saba Vasefi to hear several poets from the anthology reading their work. MC-ed by co-editor Melinda Smith.

Readings by

Samah Sabawi, Maryam Azam, Lynette Riley, Tusiata Avia, Bronwyn Lovell, Dianty Ningrum
and Cassandra Atherton 

For more information about the anthology and a link to purchase at Recent Work Press please click here.

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LitBalm International Reading
with Marc Vincenz, Cassandra Atherton and Jonathan Penton

Sunday, October 17, 2021
(Due to the time difference with the U.S.)

LIVESTREAM with the United States
via ZOOM.
Zoom link:

This is a FREE event. Pour your morning cuppa and listen to some poems. 

LitBalm poetry reading with Marc Vincenz, Cassandra Atherton, and Jonathan Penton.

Join us for a beautiful Sunday morning of poetry reading! Connecting internationally with our friends at LitBalm, this event will feature Paul Hetherington (Aus), Paul Munden (UK), Gemma Nethercote Way (Aus), Shane Strange (Aus), Jen Webb (Aus), Kimberly K. Williams (Aus/US).  

LitBalm is an interactive livestream reading series based out of the US, and brought to you by Marc Vincenz of MadHat and New American Writing (Magazine), Jonathan Penton of Unlikely Stories Mark V and Unlikely Books, and Cassandra Atherton of Westerly Magazine. They host bi-weekly readings streamed over Zoom and have been operating since April 2020!
Check out their website here.
LitBalm Facebook Events can be found

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UC Student Reading and Open Mic

Thursday, 21 October
7pm - 8:30pm

Open mic for UC students 7pm - 7:30pm

Featured poets from the UC creative writing program

7:30pm - 8:30pm

LIVE via ZOOM, link here:

Announcement of the haiku social media contest winners. 

This is a FREE event.

Attention to all poets and writers of University of Canberra: 


We will be hosting an open mic night for UC students!

You will be in the (virtual) company of some of our featured poets and POTM staff who will also be sharing some of their works!

In addition, the winners of the Haiku competition will be announced here, with poets winning both a cash prize and a platform to share their poems!

This event will be held over Zoom, link will be posted HERE prior to the event. 

See our Facebook event details here.