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, experimental poetry, poetry as a tool to rewrite histories of misrepresentation, writing the self, 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.

Toolkits: Poetry will be facilitated by Melody Paloma, an established poet, editor and critic living in Narrm (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 Jeanine Leane, Magan Magan and Amelia Dale presenting live and online sessions for the next generation across the country.

Tuesday August 7 | Week 1: 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!

Tuesday August 21 | Week 2: Experimental Book Objects with Amelia Dale
Poetry books aren’t always just paper and text. This week we explore the expansive nature of poetry as object, push the boundaries of the expectations of form and ponder the ways in which we can amplify and make strange of our reading and writing praxis.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday September 4 | Week 3: Language and Poetry
How does poetry harness language differently than other forms of creative writing? What makes a poem a poem? Why do we write poetry? We’ll discuss varied approaches to reading poetry and why it’s important to be able to identify techniques that make a poem work (and what techniques might make a poem fail) – how being good readers makes us better poets.

Tuesday September 18 | Week 4: Retelling Places: Rewriting Histories with Jeanine Leane
Many Aboriginal writers use poetry as a tool to rewrite histories of misrepresentation, invasive state archives and government reports, the settler media and to ‘fill in gaps’ and reimagine stolen histories. This week will look at how poetry can be used to tell a story, truth, event or point of view that history has missed out on. In particular, Jeanine Leane will focus on the capacity to give voice to otherwise silenced and/or marginalised voices and unspoken or forgotten histories, secrets or causes.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday October 2 | Week 5: Writing The Self with Magan Magan
Poetry can be a powerful tool in articulating the self,  our histories, traumas and experiences. However, this can often be confronting territory to navigate. How can we use poetry as catharsis while making sure we are still producing good writing? How do we separate the poetic self from the self that holds our stories?  

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday October 16 | 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 as well as practical business like how to get paid. From DIY chapbooks, blogs and zines, sending off that precious manuscript, to the 101 of poetry journals, festivals, readings and getting involved with your community – our final week is all about taking your poetry from your desk to the people. We’ll also be saying a final farewell with an online poetry salon – an opportunity for participants to read and share all their hard work in the comfort of Google Hangouts.


You must be aged 30 and under to apply for Toolkits: Poetry. You must be a joint member of Express Media and Australian Poetry. 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 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 for Toolkits: Poetry are closed.

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


Melody Paloma is a poet, editor and critic currently living in Narrm (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. 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. She works for Australian Poetry as an associate publisher and in their young poets’ programs.

Magan Magan is a writer and poet undertaking creative writing at Victoria University. He has read his work at the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Young Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival, and La Mama Poetica. His work has been published in Hyde magazine, literary arts journal Offset, Cordite Poetry Review and anthologies Shots From The Chamber and Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. Magan is currently co-curating forthcoming anthology Growing Up African In Australia due to release in 2019 with Black Inc publisher. His first collection of poems titled From Grains To Gold will be released in 2018 with Vulgar Press.

Amelia Dale‘s recent book Constitution (Inken Publisch) won Mascara Literary Review‘s Avant-Garde Award for poetry. She co-edits the experimental press SOd Press and works as a lecturer at the Australian Studies Centre at SUIBE in Shanghai.

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP), won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, 2012. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of
Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. In 2017, Jeanine was the recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonucal Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. The manuscript for her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was highly commended in the Black&Write Indigenous Writing Fellowships, State Library of Queensland, 2016 and was released in 2018 by Cordite Press.

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