Poetry Sydney is an independent literary organisation committed to a presence for poetry in our culture.

Poetry Sydney program at the Brett Whiteley Studio, AGNSW

The Poetry Sydney program at the Brett Whiteley Studio will recommence under advisement of Studio Management.

The Brett Whiteley Studio has reopened to limited numbers of visitors.  Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.  No bookings or tickets required.  Strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  Visitors will be asked to provide their name and contact details on arrival to support contact tracing.


Featured poets in the Poetry Sydney Program 2019

2-3pm Sunday 3 March   | Richard James Allen: Natural Disasters

In response to the current Brett Whiteley exhibition, wildlife and other emergencies in which we experience some of the most brutal, primal work, Richard James Allen explores the internal rhythms of the most wild animal of all: the human being. Delicate and viscera, empathetic and playful, sensuous and unsettling, Allen’s poetry is an elusive love song to memory and imagination, a paean to the human capacity for paradox and self-delusion. In a reading immersed in art and punctuated by dance, drawing on his newly published book, The short story of you and I (UWAP), Allen brings an unblinking gaze to the things we think we know and allows us to see them anew.

Richard James Allen is an Australian born poet whose writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online over many years. Creator of #RichardReads, an online compendium of Global Poetry, Read Aloud, he has written ten books of poetry and edited a national anthology of writing for performance. Richard is also well known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (www.physicaltv.com.au), and as a performer in a range of media and contexts.

2-3pm Sunday 7 April   | Judith Crispin

Judith Crispin is an internationally published poet with three monographs to her name. She is a creative director for cultural heritage projects, a visual artist and writer. Currently she directs the Kurdiji 1.0 Aboriginal suicide prevention project. Until 2017, she led the Australian Catholic University’s Julfa project, which reconstructed a destroyed Armenian cemetery as a large-scale virtual reality presentation. Until 2015 she was director and curator of Manning Clark House, a centre that has championed Australian History, culture and human rights since the days of its founder, Dymphna Clark. She has run scholarly institutions, designed academic programs and research projects, and taught sound art, poetry, photography and literature in universities across Australia and Germany. Since 2011 Judith has spent several months of every year living and working with Warlpiri people in Lajamanu, Central Desert. She has learned to speak some Warlpiri language, and published a book with contributions from elders. Most of Judith’s current work centres around Aboriginal cultural heritage and its role in increasing resilience in young Indigenous people. Judith’s poetry and visual art practice is informed by her Bpangerang ancestry. https://judithcrispin.com/

Robert Adamson is an internationally recognised poet and one of Australia’s most respected and awarded writers. Adamson will make a special guest appearance to read as mentor of Judith.

Image: She had never been a big person, but when Caroline entered the afterworld, the movement of her wings turned the air to ice crystal c Judith Crispin

2-3pm Sunday 5 May   | Graham Foust

American poet Graham Foust is the author of seven books of poems, the most recent being Nightingalelessness (Flood Editions, 2018).  His poems and prose have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The NationBoston ReviewAmerican Letters and CommentaryA Public SpaceGulf CoastVerse, and Fence.  With Samuel Frederick, he translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister:  In Time’s Rift (Wave Books, 2012), Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014), and Of Entirety Say the Sentence (Wave Books, 2015).  He lives in Colorado and works at the University of Denver.

FB event page: Graham Foust

Sunday 2 June 2019     | David Adès and Les Wicks: Conviction and Community

Conviction and Community: David Ades and Les Wicks will be reading from their own and each other’s works. David’s is very much focused on love, friendship, family and inclusion while Les explores the concept of belief, its bones and bonfires.

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World and Afloat in Light, and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal.  David has won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for several other prizes in Australia, the U.S and Israel.

Les Wicks has performed widely. Published across 29 countries in 14 languages. Conducts workshops around Australia & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 14th book of poetry is Belief (Flying Islands, 2019). http://leswicks.tripod.com/lw.htm

Sunday 7 July 2019    | Aural Anthology

This is the annual open reading. Poets interested in participating should email mail@poetrysydney.org

Sunday 4 August 2019     | Ali Whitelock and Melinda Smith: Winter, Death and The Menopause

‘There is no sound when it snows …’  In Winter, Death and The Menopause Ali Whitelock and guest poet Melinda Smith will present poetry of love, loss and absence.

Ali Whitelock’s reading will travel a constellation of worlds––in particular her childhood country of Scotland, configured as a blighted paradise and Australia, which she writes about as if it were an almost good enough marriage. These poems will tell how twenty five years on, her heart still aches for the freezing Scottish winters and the desolate highland terrain; they will delve into the final moments at her dying, abusive father’s bedside with all the excruciating, unfinished business of grief, and they will take us through the unexpected menopausal chaos and ensuing madness of the midlife affair.

Ali Whitelock is a Sydney based Scottish poet and writer. Her first book, (a memoir), Poking Seaweed with a Stick and Running Away from the Smell, was published to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK. Her debut poetry collection, And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can, published by Wakefield Press, 2018. Many of her poems have appeared in magazines and journals in Australia, the UK and the USA, and she has featured in literary festivals in Australia and the UK. She is the coordinator of the regular reading event The Sydney Poetry Lounge, at the Friend in Hand Hotel, Glebe.

Melinda Smith is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Goodbye, Cruel (Pitt St Poetry, 2017). She won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her work has been widely anthologised and translated into multiple languages, and she has appeared at writer’s festivals and literary events across Australia and in Italy, New Zealand and Japan. She is a former poetry editor of The Canberra Times, and currently helps organise a weekly series of poetry readings at Smith’s Alternative in Canberra, called ‘That Poetry Thing’. Her next full length collection will be out in 2020 from Pitt St Poetry.

Sunday 1 September 2019     | Phil Hammial: Detroit

Phil Hammial left Detroit, USA, when he was 17 years old in 1967. Now in his 80s he considers the energy in his poetry to come from his youthful roots. He returned in 2012 to a ghost city of 35,000 abandoned homes, 400 abandoned commercial and cultural iconic buildings. Last year he went home to find a city in development and renovation. It’s energy renewed. Phil has 32 collections of poetry published and has as many solo sculpture exhibitions. His poems have appeared in 31 anthologies in seven countries and in 129 journals in 16 countries. He has featured in numerous national literary festivals and has represented Australia at fourteen international festivals. His sixteenth collection, In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children, was short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in 2004, as was his fourteenth collection, Bread, in 2001. In 2010 his twenty-first collection, Skin Theory, was short-listed for the ACT Poetry Book Prize. In October 2018 Sheep Meadow Press in NY State published Detroit & Selected Poems, a large format 288 page collection, Hammial’s first collection to be published in the country of his birth.

Sunday 6 October 2019     |  Margaret Bradstock and John Upton: Garden Music

Margaret Bradstock has eight published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize) and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Editor of Antipodes (2011) and Caring for Country (2017), Margaret won the Banjo Paterson Poetry Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Her latest collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, is Brief Garden (2019).

John Upton was a professional dramatist for 27 years. He was scriptwriter for more than 20 Australian television series, and had five stage plays produced over his career as a writer. His political comedy Machiavelli, Machiavelli won the Australian Writers Guild’s award for Best New Play in 1985. John’s poetry collections are Embracing the Razor (2014) and Sheet Music (2019), both from Puncher & Wattmann.

Sunday 3 November 2019      | Take a Look: Peter Boyle and Christine Christensen

Peter Boyle is a Sydney-based poet and translator of poetry. He is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness. His book Ghostspeaking won the 2017 Kenneth Slessor Prize and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Award for Poetry. Other poetry collections include Apocrypha (2009) which won the Queensland Premier’s Prize and the Judith Wright (ACT) Award, Museum of Space (2004) and What the painter saw in our faces (2001).

As a translator of poetry from Spanish and French he has had seven books published. Among the poets he has translated are José Kozer from Cuba, Eugenio Montejo from Venezuela and Marosa di Giorgio and Jorge Palma from Uruguay. In 2019 Peter was commissioned to write a poem in response to a selected art work in the Australian Galleries, AGNSW collections for Look Magazine, AGNSW membership magazine.

Christina Christensen has traveled the world with her cello playing professionally in ensembles, orchestras and performing collaborative works. After completing her Bachelor Honours degree in music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music she moved to Copenhagen, Denmark to pursue further studies and performed in public masterclasses for notable cellists Steven Isserlis, David Geringas and Peter Wispelwey to name a few.  She enjoys composing music for cello often inspired by nature, moments in time and other artists. Christina also currently works as an Accessible Format Producer transcribing print to Braille Music code for people with vision impairments.

3-6pm Saturday 14 December 2019 | The Sydney Poetry Bookers Picnic

The Sydney Poetry Bookers Picnic is a celebration of poetry.

The annual event acknowledges the efforts undertaken throughout the year by the conveners of poetry in forging poetry communities and developing support of the art form in Sydney and New South Wales. Representatives are invited to attend, speak of their event and read. There is also an opportunity for poets to register to read, or perform in the open reading section.

Now in its seventh year, the reading will feature three-time winner of the Nimbin World Cup of Poetry, Tug Dumbly, as MC. ​

From the more established poetry events through to the emerging, performative and the competitive such as the Australian Poetry Slam organised by Word Travels, to presentations of the avant-garde in Avant Gaga at Sappho Books Cafe and Bar, through to the longest standing poetry event Live Poets at the Don Banks Museum in North Sydney, and out West with regular readings programmed by West Words.

Sydney and NSW poetry events feature, local, regional, national and international poets and collaborators across a range of different venues, from libraries, galleries, museums to pubs and clubs.

The family event is free, dog friendly and located at the Rotunda at Observatory Hill.

Representative poets reading include: Australian Poetry; Avant Gaga; Bankstown Poetry; Caravan Slam; Girls on Key; Live Poets Society; North Sydney Poets; Poetry at the Petersham Bowlo; Poetry at the Rudolph Steiner House; Poetry Salon; Poetry Sydney; Poetry at the Sydney Mechanical School of Arts; Red Room Poetry; Sydney Poetry Lounge; Stanley Street Gallery Poetry; Unspoken Words; UNSW Poets; Wednesday Poetry and Word Travels.

Poets interested in reading please register by email: mail@poetrysydney.org.

The event is subject to weather conditions. Notification of cancellation will be provided at 11.00am through the Facebook event page and Poetry Sydney registered email list. To register on the Poetry Sydney email list please through the ps website.

The event is presented by Poetry Sydney, sponsored by Australian Poetry and supported by the City of Sydney. Media partner: Eastside Radio.

FREE | ​Sydney Poetry Bookers Picnic
3-6pm Saturday 14 December 2019
The Rotunda at Observatory Hill, Millers Point New South Wales

MC: ​Tug Dumbly

Tug Dumbly is three-time winner of the Nimbin World Cup of Poetry and co-founder of Bard Flies, one of Sydney’s first spoken word events.

City of Sydney event page
Facebook event page


First Sunday of the month, 2pm
March-November 2019

Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper Street, Surry Hills
Sydney, NSW Australia

First Sunday of the month, 2pm
March-November 2019

Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper Street, Surry Hills
Sydney, NSW Australia

10:00am – 4:00pm Friday – Sunday
Free admission made possible by J.P. Morgan