Best of Australian Poetry is a new annual anthology collecting previously published and unpublished poems to create a poetic snapshot of the year that was. Capturing the richness and diversity of Australian poetry, the series will explore how poetic responses to the contemporary moment develop with each passing year.
This virtual showcase event celebrates the anthology’s release, opening with a conversation between its editors, award-winning poets Ellen van Neerven and Toby Fitch. They’ll discuss their approach to curating the collection, and their thoughts on the state of Australian poetry today. Then, we’ll enjoy readings and performances from some of the poets featured in the inaugural anthology, including Sara M Saleh, Ouyang Yu, Judith Crispin, Yeena Kirkbright and many more.
Presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.
Sara M Saleh is a human rights activist and the daughter of migrants from Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon, living on Gadigal land. A poet and writer, her pieces have been published in English and Arabic in various national and international outlets and anthologies including Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Overland Journal, and Rabbit Poetry.
By October 2021, Ouyang Yu will have published 137 books in both English and Chinese in the field of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, literary translation and criticism. His second book of English poetry, Songs of the Last Chinese Poet, was shortlisted for the 1999 NSW Premier’s Literary Award.
John Kinsella’s most recent volumes of poetry include Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems 1980-2015 (Picador, 2016), Open Door (UWAP, 2018), Insomnia (WW Norton, 2020) and Supervivid Depastoralism (Vagabond, 2021). University of Western Australian Press will be publishing his Collected Poems 1980-2021 in three volumes, with the first volume being released in early 2022.
Judith Nangala Crispin is a visual artist and poet, and a descendant of Bpangerang-Gunaikurnai people from the Murray River. Her work centres on lost history and dispossession, as well as relationship-building with Country. Judith has published a collection of poetry, The Myrrh-Bearers (Puncher & Wattmann, 2015), and a book of images and poems, The Lumen Seed (Daylight Books, 2017).
Dženana Vucic is a Bosnian-Australian writer, poet and critic. She has received the 2021 Kat Muscat Fellowship and a 2020-21 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship to work on an autotheoretical book about her experience as a refugee, the Bosnian war, identity, memory and un/belonging.
Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Writing and English Literature, First Class Honours and a University Medal in Creative Writing, a Master of Arts in Writing, Editing and Publishing, and recently submitted her PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland.
Yeena is a Wiradjuri poet who grew up in Central West New South Wales and she now lives and works on Wangal, Darug and Gadigal lands. Her work has been published in several literary journals.
Manisha Anjali is a writer and artist. She was born in Suva, Fiji, and has lived on Wurundjeri country, Minjungbal country and Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. Manisha is the founder of Community Dream Project, a research and documentation platform for dreams, visions and hallucinations.
Jill Jones was born in Sydney and has lived in Adelaide since 2008. Recent books include Wild Curious Air, winner of the 2021 Wesley Michel Wright Prize, A History Of What I’ll Become, shortlisted for the 2021 Kenneth Slessor Award, and Viva the Real, shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry and the 2020 John Bray Award.
Rico Craig is a writer, educator and award-winning poet whose work melds the narrative, lyrical and cinematic. His poetry has been awarded prizes or shortlisted for the Montreal Poetry Prize, Val Vallis Prize, Newcastle Poetry Prize, Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize and University of Canberra Poetry Prize. Bone Ink (UWAP), his first poetry collection, was winner of the 2017 Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2018.
Ellen van Neerven
Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali and Dutch heritage. Their books include Heat and Light, Comfort Food and Throat.
Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland, a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Sydney, and editor-at-large for Australian Poetry. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including, most recently, Sydney Spleen (Giramondo 2021). With Ellen van Neerven, he co-edited Best of Australian Poems Vol 1 2021.