Poetry in motion

• Natalie D-Napoleon is one of the international poets appearing at the Perth Poetry Festival.

A SOUTH Fremantle poet is part of the stellar line-up for this year’s Perth Poetry Festival.

Now in its 15th year, the festival (August 9-18) features poets from around the world and includes slam and anti-slam poetry, wellness poetry and some fascinating workshops.

South Freo poet Carolyn Abbs will do readings from her new collection The Tiny Museums, which flits between her childhood in the UK and her adult years in Australia.

The poems are poignant, sad and humorous, and the title was inspired by her unmarried grandmother hiding in a tiny room until she gave birth to Abbs’ father.

“After the birth she was sent away.”

In The Boy From the Grammar School, a 14-year-old Abbs is marched to the hairdressers after bleaching her hair peroxide blonde:

My father called it Barmaid Blonde!
My mother said the nuns at school must never know.
She took me to Annette’s perms, shampoos and sets.
Dye it brown, she said and left.
I asked Annette…for Black!

Sudanese-Australian poet Afeif Ismail and political activist Vivienne Glance will hold a workshop on writing poems about power and activism, social justice, climate catastrophe, inclusivity, peace and non-violence.

Guest poet Natalie D-Napoleon is flying in from the US, but originally hails from Fremantle and is also a singer/songwriter.

Melbournian Peter Bakowski has been writing award-winning poetry for 36 years, and has been writer-in-residence in Paris, Rome and Macau.

Melinda Smith is the former poetry editor of The Canberra Times and has penned six poetry books and won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

There will be a number of WA poets at the festival including Dean Meredith, Shey Marque and Ann Gilchrist.

The festival will be held in venues across Fremantle and Perth from August 9-18. For details go to



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