We want young Australian poets to be trailblazers in the art form so Australian Poetry is launching a substantial program to feature and support Young Poets in 2016.
We have so many exciting programs that support young writers! Keep reading if that’s you and you want to be involved.
First up, we have Toolkits – to be run in partnership with Express Media, the national young writers’ organisation. Toolkits is an innovative, free Webinar course, to be offered inaugurally in 2016. Along with the Young Poets Fellowship, mentioned below, Toolkits is part of Australian Poetry’s pragmatic commitment to discovering, nurturing and inspiring young poets. Toolkits is open via application, to candidates nationally, and comprises a 7 week contact course, across 12 weeks, with a chief facilitator and two guest lecturers. The callout, for poets 25 years and under, will be promoted via AP and Express Media websites. Ten young poets, with a national spread, will be selected to participate.
The Young Poets Fellowship will be awarded each year in a different state or territory. It is an offspring of the highly successful New Voices series, which concluded in 2013. A young NSW-based poet, 30 years or under, will be nominated, after a call out, for the NSW Young Poets Fellowship. This will involve a 20 hours mentorship (online and face to face) with poet, editor and creative writing teacher Ron Pretty. South Australia follows in 2017, Queensland in 2018. The NSW 2016 YP Fellowship is run by Australian Poetry, Express Media and the NSW Writers Centre, which will provide facilities, promotional and other support. The mentoring will culminate in an elegant book length collection, to be published by Australian Poetry and Express Media. Alumni of New Voices and its NSW Poets Union predecessor program are notable and include Simon West, LK Holt and Eileen Chong.
One of the most powerful programs offered by Australian Poetry, across its entire program, is Hidden Voices, a project run in conjunction with the SA Writers Centre. Using a robust workshop model developed by SA-based specialised participatory arts practitioner, David Chapple, poetry programs are delivered through the SA Writers Centre to some of our most disadvantaged or vulnerable citizens. Due to the respect for confidentiality of participants and participant organisations, specific details cannot be released on the project. Programs run in difficult and challenging sites such as hospitals, homeless organisations and special needs education. It is an initiative which Australian Poetry intends to extend into other regions.
The Out Loud school slam competition, funded by Melbourne City Council, grows from strength to strength with 20 urban and regional schools involved in the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival partnership with Australian Poetry, up from four schools when the project launched five years ago. Call out details to schools will be posted in 2016 at australianpoetry.org and through Melbourne Writers Festival 2016. The final will be held at Federation Square during MWF, 25 August – 4 September 2016. The level of poetry presented by finalists in 2015 was world-class – profound in themes, moving in ideas and inspiring in language and performance.
Tune Your Poetry the new, affordable online poetry assessment service program launching in 2016, will also be open to Young Poets wanting to use its assessment mentors.