Established in 1999, the Poetry Sydney program has featured hundreds of poets from New South Wales, interstate and overseas. Now in its 20th year at the Brett Whiteley Studio, the program is one of Australia’s longest standing poetry events.  First coordinated and managed by the Sydney based Poets Union before the amalgamation with the Melbourne Poetry Centre in 2011, to form Australian Poetry. Brook Emery, poet and former President of the Poets Union coordinated the readings until 2008, when Angela Stretch started the position.

Poetry Sydney nurtures innovation, discovery, and inspiration through the poetry of today. We present established, emerging and early career poets from diverse poetry practices. The program supports a range of poets and platforms poetry in a public setting. The program includes an annual open reading, in addition to hosting special events such as book launches, talks, performances, associative festival events and special annual events such as the Sydney Poetry Bookers Picnic and Shakespeare’s birthday event reading.

Brett and Wendy Whiteley first bought the former Surry Hills warehouse in 1985, converting it into a studio and exhibition space where Brett lived and worked from 1988 until his death in 1992. The space opened to the public in 1995, two years after the NSW Government purchased it. It is now owned and managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW).  The Brett Whiteley Studio offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the artist’s working space, with paintings, art materials, his personal collection of art books and objects that inspired him, alongside the graffiti wall covered with quotes and images.

“Poetry to Whiteley was rich air to inhale and to consume – Rimbaud and Baudelaire set fire to his imagination – and poetry in this studio became an integral part of the public programs here… we celebrate voices, words, ideas, soundscapes which travel inward and light our way.”

          Alec George, Coordinator, Brett Whiteley Studio

The Brett Whiteley Studio is managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales with free admission made possible by principal sponsor J.P. Morgan.

The Poetry Sydney program at the Brett Whiteley Studio is held on the first Sunday of the month between March and November at 2:00pm. For enquiries please email

For more on the Brett Whiteley Studio please visit the AGNSW website: