the poem as the last

unparaphraseable chunk

of language left to us


Alan Loney


To find the hub of literary cultural activity in ACT and Canberra, look no further than the ACT Writers Centre. Operating as a non-profit organisation, the centre promotes writing-based culture and supports the professional rights and interests of writers in the ACT and region. The Centre offers a wide variety of writing workshops and seminars with local and visiting professionals, as well as collaborating with other organisations to run events. These include meet-the-author sessions and master-classes with some of Australia’s best-known writers and most experienced editors, publishers and agents. They run social events and fundraisers and facilitate writing groups to help local writers meet their peers. The centre has held regional workshops as far away as Bega, Yass, Goulburn, Booroowa, Batemans Bay and Cooma. Upcoming events and workshops are featured in their monthly magazine, ACTWrite. For more information on membership, services, events and workshops, follow the link to their website.

If one is looking for events concerning a performance-based poetry, live poetry, poetry slams or spoken-word, look no further than this list of terrific happenings around Canberra:

  • BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! is Canberra’s monthly poetry slam celebrating poetry in any and all forms, it includes national and international feature poets and is held at The Phoenix.
  • Poetry At The House, an evening event held monthly at ANU’s University House,
  • Canberra Slamboree is Canberra’s monthly scout themed poetry night at the Front Cafe in Lyneham
  • and and Smiths Alternative hosts a weekly poetry open mic called That Poetry Thing.

Other spaces to craft poetic skills and meet with the poetry community:

  • the Salt Room at Gorman Arts Centre, run by Andrew Galan, is a feature night that brings together four diverse Australian Capital Territory, inter-state and international poets, it runs from March each year.
  • Watsonian Poets, chaired by Fiona McIlroy, is an easy-going conversational group where free verse poetry rubs shoulders with villanelles and bush poetry over wine and coffee. Meets at Joeys Cafe in Watson.
  • The School of Music Poets (located within the ANU’s School of Music) is a great space and resource centre for poets looking to expand their practise to other artistic mediums. The School focuses on the production of ekphrastic poetry inspired by sound and regularly collates the poems for publication. They hold events with guest speakers sharing their own musical poetry the meetings are conducted by Helen Hall.

To remain up-to-date with all of the above listed events and groups, as well as many-a-thing writerly in Canberra, follow the ACT Writers Centre blog.

Go to the National Library Bookshop who house a great selection of contemporary Australian poetry and Paperchain Bookstore; a leading independent bookseller. The University of Canberra, houses the International Poetry Studies Institute which runs the Poetry on the Move festival.

If you believe we’ve missed something important in your state, feel free to let us know at