Explore the 2024 Program

Powerful poetry at the Festival

Poet Robert Frost wrote, "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."

Poetry is one of the oldest literatures that is kept alive today by vibrant, experimental and fresh voices. Because poetry is so emotive, as Robert Frost wrote, it's accessible for everyone to read, listen to and enjoy.

In the 2024 Festival we have some of the biggest names in Australian poetry performing alongside international guests and up-and-coming poets. However you want to enjoy poetry, as performance, on the page or through in-depth conversation, there is plenty of poetry for everyone.

Free events

If you're new to poetry and just want to dip your toes in, then the free events on offer are a great way to get started. Singapore Storytellers brings six writers to the stage to reflect on connection to place in their work, spanning poetry, novels, plays and more. At the Festival, you can hear from and speak to a range of different writers who will quickly immerse you in the many styles and genres of poetry available. They might even use the healing power of poetry to find a solution to an ailment for you at Poetry Prescriptions.

Poetry performances

If you've already had your interest piqued, the performances at this year's Festival are an excellent way to engage with local and international poetry communities. The founding director of Sweatshop Literacy Movement, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, will lead a rousing round of readings from Sweatshop writers while Festival favourite Queerstories returns with a range of writers sharing their hilarious stories including poets K Patrick and Bebe Oliver. Festival Guest Curator Jazz Money presents her curated selection of remarkable poets including Jeanine Leane, Susie Anderson, Omar Sakr and Anne-Marie Te Whiu in Speak the Light and Bankstown Poetry Slam also returns to the Festival this year with a special guest, United States Young People's Poet Laureate and National Poetry Slam Champion, Elizabeth Acevedo.

Poet participants

One of the great joys of the Festival is spending time listening to writers discuss their work and the wider world in conversations or panels with other writers. K Patrick will discuss their approach to writing queer desire with novelists Christos Tsiolkas and Madeleine Gray. Two poets join forces, Elizabeth Acevedo and Sara M Saleh, with fellow novelist Balli Kaur Jaswal and host Kate Evans, to reveal the secret inner lives of women in their work. While beloved writer Tony Birch highlights the up-and-coming work of Graham Akhurst who has a history in poetry and academia but has just published his debut young adult novel. There's nothing quite like getting a poet's perspective on things so these conversations are sure to be worth their weight in gold.

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