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, group workshops, 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 non-fiction poetry, poetry as a form of resistance, decolonising and First Nations languages, poetry and humor, 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 2019, Toolkits: Poetry will be facilitated by Melody Paloma, an established poet, editor and critic living in Melbourne, and author of In Some Ways Dingo (Rabbit). 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 Kent MacCarter, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Jessica Wilkinson and Kirli Saunders, presenting live and online sessions for the next generation across the country.

Thursday 22nd August | Week 1A: What Is Poetry?
What does poetry actually look like? We’ll focus on the vast and differing forms poetry can take, push pre-conceived notions of what defines poetry and learn to identify what makes an individual poem tick. In our introductory week we get participants excited about the immense scope of this unruly form!

Thursday 29th August | Week 1B
Feedback week

Thursday 12th September | Week 2B
Feedback week

Thursday 19th September | Week 3A: Editing and Publishing Poetry with Kent MacCarter

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. In week four, managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review and publisher of Cordite Books, Kent MacCarter, joins us to focus on the nitty gritty of how to edit and publish your work. He’ll share his experience and expertise and show you how to take your poetry from your desk to the people.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Thursday 26th September | Week 3B
Feedback week

Thursday 3rd October | Week 4A: Nonfiction Poetry with Jessica Wilkinson

Nonfiction poetry isn’t just a space to explore the lyric ‘l’. This week poet, editor and educator Jessica Wilkinson shares her own experience of nonfiction poetry, a form that continues to push the boundaries of both poetry and nonfiction alike. We’ll take a close look at Rabbit, a nonfiction poetry journal founded and edited by Wilkinson, a publication that continues to open up a dialogue between form and genre. Participants will also gain insight into the development of Wilkinson’s own practice and experiments with nonfiction poetry.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

RESCHEDULED Thursday 10th October | Week 2A: Reclaiming Joy with Norman Erikson Pasaribu
How do we use humour in our writing to intervene a status quo, to expose social oppression, to resist the dominant power? How can we use poetry to reclaim laughter and joy while remaining ethically conscientious and politically aware? In week four, Java-born author Norman Erikson Pasaribu joins us live from The Wheeler Centre to show us how to use poetry as a form of resistance (and how to have a giggle at the same time).

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Thursday 10th October | Week 4B
Feedback week

Thursday 17th October | Week 5A: Truth speaking, decolonising and First Nations languages with Kirli Saunders

Proud Gunai woman, and international children’s author, poet, and emerging playwright Kirli Saunders, joins us to discuss her experience using poetry as a tool to connect to land and it’s ancient knowledge. Kirli talks about how she celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry and through the Poetry in First Languages Project. In this session, Kirli will share research exploring the impacts of the connections of First Nations people to country, language and community.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Thursday 24th October | Week 5B
Feedback week

Thursday 31st October | Week 6A: Poetry Salon

What better way to prepare for the end of the season than with reflecting on how far you’ve each come? This week is all about sharing and strengthening this little community you’ve all built together. Here you’ll not only reflect on the skills you’ve built within your own practice, but also as critical readers and valuable peers. In this session, each participant will have the chance to read their own work, receive feedback, and exercise their own skills in editing.

Thursday 7th November | Week 6B
Feedback week


Applications to Toolkits: Poetry are free for Express Media and Australian Poetry members. If you are not an Express Media member and Australian Poetry member, you can purchase a combined membership here.

Express Media is committed to access, so if you would like to sign up and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us via info@expressmedia.org.au 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 have now closed 

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

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Melody Paloma is a poet, editor and critic currently living in Naarm (Melbourne). Among others, her work has appeared in Cordite Poetry Review, Rabbit, Plumwood Mountain, un Magazine, and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter, 2016). Her debut collection, In Some Ways Dingo, was published as part of the Rabbit Poets Series in 2017. Over the course of 2018 she produced Some Days, a durational chapbook-length work published by Stale Objects dePress and performed in 2019 with Liquid Architecture. She has been awarded the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Mascara Literary Review Avant-Garde Awards. Melody is the editor and curator of Tell Me Like You Mean It, an e-chapbook and reading series featuring new work from young and emerging poets, published and produced by Australian Poetry in partnership with Cordite Poetry Review.


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Jessica L. Wilkinson is the founding editor of Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry. Her first book, marionette: a biography of miss marion davies was published by Vagabond in 2012 and shortlisted for the 2014 Kenneth Slessor Prize. Her second poetic biography, Suite for Percy Grainger, was published by Vagabond in 2014. In 2014 she received a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship to research her third poetic biography, Music Made Visible: a biography of George Balanchine, which is forthcoming in 2019. In 2016, she co-edited Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter Publishers). She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne.


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Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman. She is an international children’s author, poet, emerging playwright and artist. Kirli manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her picture books include CBCA nominated and internationally published, The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic) and forthcoming, Our Dreaming and Happy Every After (Scholastic) and Afloat (Hardie Grant). Her poetry Collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. She was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018. In 2019, you can find Kirli at NT Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival and as writer in residence at The Literature Centre, Fremantle.


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Norman Erikson Pasaribu is an Indonesian author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His work in Indonesian has been translated into Vietnamese, Bengali, English, French, and Dutch. He also writes in English when he wants it, and his work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in PEN Transmissions, Cordite Poetry Review, and Overland Literary Journal. His first book of poems Sergius Seeks Bacchus (trans. by Tiffany Tsao) was one of the winning entries of PEN Presents East and Southeast Asia and received a PEN Translates Award from the English PEN. He enjoys cooking, doodling, and playing video games.


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Kent MacCarter is a writer and editor in Castlemaine, with his wife and son. He’s the author of three poetry collections – In the Hungry Middle of Here (Transit Lounge, 2009), Sputnik’s Cousin (Transit Lounge, 2014) and California Sweet (Five Islands Press, 2018) – as well as two chapbooks, Ribosome Spreadsheet (Picaro Press, 2011) and Polyvinyl chloride (Under the Mountain Press, 2017). He was an editor of Joyful Strains: Making Australia Home (Affirm Press, 2013), a non-fiction collection of diasporic memoir. He is managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review and publisher of Cordite Books. Headshot by Nicholas Walton-Healey


Toolkits: Poetry is presented by Express Media, in partnership with Australian Poetry. Toolkits is generously supported by The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Live is presented by Express Media in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Arts Connect Series funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Arts Fund.