Toolkits: Poetry

A mentoring partnership between Express Media and Australian Poetry

Anna Jacobson, 29, Queensland

Anna Jacobson is a twenty-nine-year-old Brisbane poet, writer, and artist. Her poetry has been published in literary journals including Cordite, Rabbit, Australian Poetry Journal, Tincture and Verity La. She is one of The Red Room Company’s commissioned poets for ‘Poetry Object 2017’. In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award, the Scribe Nonfiction Prize and the University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. Anna is currently undertaking her Master of Philosophy (Creative Practice), specialising in poetry at QUT. As an artist and writer, she is excited to be part of Toolkits: Poetry and is especially looking forward to the poetry and visual art workshop with Bella Li. Anna’s website is 

Sheena Colquhoun, 26, Victoria

Sheena Colquhoun is an artist and poet who graduated from Fine Arts (Honours) at Monash University in 2014. She is looking to exploit language and negotiate with metaphor, somehow. Primarily a video artist, Sheena is interested in finding a middle ground between filmic imagery and poetic imagery. She is interested in notions relating to power, ideology and politics. Through the Toolkits program she is hoping to formalise an understanding of poetic voice, and use it as an opportunity to write in a more sustained way. She’s excited to learn from the diverse and talented voices of the poets in the program, and connect with other like-minded people. Sheena has self published a collection of poetry titled i’ll drop everything, been published in UK based journal Tender, and is one of two editors of an art/poetry online publication titled Vinegar. She was the recipient of the Sunshine Coast New Media Art award in 2015. She has exhibited locally at Seventh Gallery, West Space and Bus Projects as well as internationally.

Bilal Hafda, 23, New South Wales

Bilal is a high-school teacher, with a passion for spoken-word poetry. Alongside running poetry and creative writing workshops in schools, he is currently involved in the RESPECT program, which are a series of Creative Arts Domestic Violence workshops that run with upper-primary students who have been flagged as potentially ‘at risk’ as having witnessed domestic violence at home, or have shown a tendency towards violence themselves. He is also a member of the Bankstown Poetry Slam and is constantly looking to facilitate and nurture the voice of the participants of the slams and audiences who attend them.

Darlene Soberano, 19, Victoria

Darlene Silva Soberano is a 19-year-old poet who immigrated to Australia from the Philippines at an early age. She is now based in Melbourne, Victoria. She is currently in the process of completing a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University with a double-major in creative writing and literary studies. Her work has been published in Mascara Literary Review. Through Toolkits: Poetry, she hopes to develop the habit of producing poetry to a deadline, meet other poets, and have an overall good time. You can find her on Twitter at @drlnsbrn, but she doesn’t know how to tweet and won’t learn.

Raelee Lancaster, 22, Queensland

I’m a Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Awakbakal land for a majority of my life. I am currently based in Brisbane, QLD. My academic background is in ancient history and heritage studies. For me, poetry is an escape from the futilities of adulthood and a tool I use to make sense of a senseless world. My poetry is often biographical, with a lot of it dedicated to exploring my Aboriginality. I have also begun writing a poetry series based off Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars. My previous writing experience includes contributing to and editing for Grapeshot – Macquarie University’s Independent Student Publication, and co-writing and producing a history revue for two consecutive years. I have also had a poem published in Rabbit Journal Issue 21: Indigenous. Through Toolkits: Poetry, I hope to develop my editing skills further, improve upon my poetic structure, and be part of a fantastic community of emerging writers. I can be found on Twitter and I have recently begun keeping a blog.

Jason Lie, 21, Victoria

Jason once made the mistake of telling someone he was a poet, so now he has to keep up this elaborate lie because people keep asking him where they can find his work. Of course, it’s not actually a lie — he’s always wanted to write poetry and occasionally does. He stumbled upon it while studying at Victoria University where his teacher encouraged him to write and submit. His poems, which centre on the themes of sexuality and gender, have been published in Offset and The Suburban Review. He is quite pride of the poem he submitted to Offset 2016 that was about breaking into someone’s house to collect their dandruff and toenails as love tokens. Speaking of eagerness, Jason is looking forward to being a part of Toolkits: Poetry where he can engage with other poets and experiment with whatever he learns during the weeks. He’s currently working as the Editor-in-Chief of Victoria University’s Hyde Magazine. For his general musings and weekly crushes, follow him on Twitter @AnotherJasonLie.

Georgia Kartas, 28, Tasmania

Georgia Kartas is a 28-year- old writer and editor living in Hobart. Georgia moved from the mainland in early 2016 to work on her first novel, and ended up working in an apothecary. But she’s inching towards the finish line and, along the way, discovered that she really likes writing poetry (having previously only explored prose). Since moving to Tasmania she has performed at several spoken word events, established and coordinated the Hobart chapter of Writers Bloc’s monthly writing group, and performed at an underground poetry event as part of Dark Mofo. Now, she is working towards performing more, and collaborating with multidisciplinary artists to transpose some of her poems onto screens. While she is learning a lot from experimenting with and reading poetry, Georgia knows she will gain a whole gamut of inspiration and knowledge from Toolkits. She is looking forward to how Toolkits will give much needed feedback on her current body of work, plus arm her with tools and concepts she can draw from in future. Georgia also co-runs and edits online journal Red Magpie. Her Twitter handle is @gee_kart.

Ellen O’Brien, 24, New South Wales

I am a law graduate and baby poet with Guringai ancestry, currently living and working on Gadigal and Wangal land. My poetry was recently published in Rabbit and my non-fiction work has been published by Overland online, Voiceworks and Vaein Zine. I love words and the noises they make when they are put together, and through Toolkits: Poetry I hope to learn how to relinquish some control over my creative processes, while also learning to tighten and refine my writing. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with rhyme and rhythm, and I also want to explore ways to bring visual art and musical concepts into my poetry. As a writer interested in building community and healing myself and others through writing and creative practices, I’m excited to connect with other poets and sensitive souls through the Toolkits program. You can find me lurking on Twitter under the handle @aquarianbeb.