The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program is a residency-based initiative coordinated out of the School of Media & Communication, RMIT University, in partnership with Australian Poetry, Melbourne Spoken Word and Rabbit: A Journal for Nonfiction Poetry. Previous guests of the program include Amanda Stewart, Natalie Harkin, Stuart Cooke, Lionel Fogarty, Ellen van Neerven and Andy Jackson.

In 2018 and 2019, the program will host two poets annually. The resident poets must be from outside of the Melbourne metropolitan region. The residency activities take place primarily within the Melbourne CBD, with optional retreat at McCraith House, Mornington Peninsula.

The aims of the program are to:

  • initiate professional platforms for diverse Australian poets from outside of Melbourne, by facilitating teaching, speaking and performing engagements within the urban Melbourne community;
  • provide settings for the residents to develop new work; and
  • create opportunities for the Melbourne metro community to engage as audiences, students/mentorees and peers with diverse writers.

Each year, one of the resident poets will be selected through an open call-out process. The selected poet will be from a regional or remote area anywhere in Australia. Applicants can be of any age and gender, and may be at any stage in their writing careers. Particular interest will be shown to applications from First Nations poets.

In 2018, the open residency will take place over 4-7 days within the week of April 23-29. Shortlisted applications will be assessed by industry peers from the program’s partner organisations.

The program liaises with the resident to provide the following:

  • return domestic flights to Melbourne;
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in Melbourne CBD;
  • exclusive use of RMIT Urban Writing House as a workspace;
  • an artist’s fee of $1, 450 to cover all activities within the residency period;
  • promotion of the resident’s activities through the partner organisations;
  • optional 3 nights’ writing retreat at McCraith House, Dromana.

Applications open on October 1st and close on December 31st, 2017. The successful applicant will be notified and announced in early January 2018.

Application criteria:

  • full name and contact details;
  • a 200-word biographical note;
  • a 1-page CV of your writing experience/education/recognition;
  • up to 4 pages of poetry that best demonstrate your work to date (may be published or unpublished), including 1 page of URL links to audio/visual recordings if relevant;
  • a 1-page proposal of 3 activities you would like to undertake as a poet while based in the city of Melbourne. Activities should be achievable within 4 days’ residency. These might include but are not limited to: a talk or lecture; a reading; a workshop or seminar. Please provide a 100-word outline of each activity you propose.
  • Applications must be sent as a single PDF.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to become Australian Poetry and Rabbit subscribers, but it is not essential. The successful applicant should be willing to participate in an interview for publication in Rabbit journal.

Applications and enquiries should be sent to:

The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which much of this program takes place. It respectfully recognises Elders both past and present.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. It is also made possible by in-kind support from the following partners.