Toolkits: Poetry

What is poetry? What makes it different from other forms of art and writing? How do I write, and publish, my own poems?

Express Media and Australian Poetry present Toolkits: Poetry, an online course in the forms, functions, histories and uses of poetry, combining theoretical approaches, practical exercises, and one-on-one mentorship to guide young writers through the development of new work.

Over a 12-week intensive, participants will explore the histories, language and the changing face of poetry, and be challenged to engage with the art form in unique and different ways. The program also covers writing poetry in the digital age, Aboriginal histories in Australian literature, the intersections of writing and visual art, and how to edit your work for publication.

Toolkits is first and foremost a practical initiative and young writers will be encouraged to write, workshop and edit their writing throughout the course.

In 2018, Toolkits: Poetry will be facilitated by Melody Paloma, critic, poet and author of In Some Ways Dingo (2017, Rabbit Poets Series). Melody will facilitate the programs online sessions and workshops, providing one-on-one mentorship and individualised feedback to each young writer.

Participants also have the chance to learn from some of Australia’s best poets, with guest artists to be announced, presenting live and online sessions for the next generation across the country.

Applications open 11 June, close 1 July, program runs 7 August to 23 October. Stay tuned for details about Toolkits: Poetry.

Get an idea for the kind of program Toolkits: Poetry is, by checking out the week by week sessions of 2017.

Tuesday July 4 | Week 1: What Is Poetry?

What does poetry look like? We’ll focus on the vast and differing forms poetry can take, appreciating the scope of the poetic form and learning to identify what makes an individual poem tick.

Tuesday July 18 | Week 2: Language and Poetry

How does poetry use language differently than other forms of creative writing? What makes a poem a poem? Why do we write poetry? We’ll discuss the distinctive and varied approaches to reading and writing poetry.

Tuesday August 1 | Week 3: Aboriginal Histories and Poetry with Evelyn Araluen

Why is it so important to create space for Aboriginal voices in our literary institutions? Join Evelyn Araluen to explore the history of Aboriginal writers in Australian literature; from ancestral songs and stories to contemporary poetics; and learn why everyone benefits from the ethical representation and reception of Aboriginal writing.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday August 15 | Week 4: Fiction vs Nonfiction Poetry

While some poets write from life, others have devoted their practice to removing their craft entirely from their own identities; creating pen names or fictitious literary selves. This week we’ll look at what it means to write fiction and nonfiction in poetry, in its blurry and multiple forms.

Tuesday August 29 | Week 5: Poetry and Visual Art with Bella Li

The relationship between poetry and visual art has a long and expansive history. This week we’re talking collaboration, interdisciplinary approaches and ekphrasis with Bella Li, to consider the various ways in which we can develop our poetry practice through incorporating the visual.

Tuesday September 12 | Week 6: Editing and Publishing Poetry

Learning how to edit your own poetry is an integral part of being a poet, and knowing how to get your work out into the world is essential. We focus on the nitty gritty of how to edit and publish your work, from DIY chapbooks, blogs and zines, to the 101 of poetry journals. Our final week is all about taking your poetry from your desk to the people.

Applications to Toolkits are free for Express Media members. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.

Express Media is committed to access, so if you would like to sign up and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us via to be awarded one of our sponsored memberships.

The only other things you’ll need are motivation and internet connection, so don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to refine your craft and be mentored by some of Australia’s best literary talent.

Applications open 11 June, close 1 July, program runs 7 August to 23 October. Stay tuned for details about Toolkits: Poetry.

Have a question? Need help with your application? Send an email to Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Express Media’s Creative Producer at


Evelyn Araluen is a poet, activist, teacher, and researcher working with Indigenous Literatures at the University of Sydney. She is the coordinator of Black Rhymes Aboriginal Poetry Night in Redfern and has spoken at the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival, and the National Young Writers Festival. She is the 2017 winner of the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, and her poetry and criticism has been published in Overland, Southerly, Rabbit, and Best Australian Poems 2016. Born on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.

Bella Li is the author of Maps, Cargo (Vagabond Press, 2013), shortlisted for the Wesley Michel Wright Prize, and Argosy (Vagabond Press, 2017)—a book of poetry, photography and collage. Her writing has been published in journals and anthologies such as Meanjin, Cordite, The Kenyon Review and Best Australian Poems. She is a managing co-editor at Five Islands Press, a co-curator and editor at Photodust, and co-editor of The Slow Canoe Live Journal and Press.

Melody Paloma is a poet and critic. Among other publications, her work has appeared in Cordite, Rabbit, Plumwood Mountain, un Magazine, and the 2016 Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. Melody was the recipient of the 2014 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets. Her first collection In Some Ways Dingo is forthcoming as part of the Rabbit Poets Series. Melody works for Australian Poetry in their young poet’s programs.

Toolkits: Poetry is generously supported by The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and co-presented by Australian Poetry