Perth’s queer poets of the future


Poetry is a peculiar beast. Simultaneously intelligent, difficult, raw, emotional and insightful, it is the bane of most people who had to struggle through it in high school. But those same people probably found some comfort in writing poetry during adolescence, such is the crafts charm. And while said poetry may have never measured up to ‘the canon’ or ‘the classics’, it offered relief in the heady, spotty-faced maelstrom that is growing up.

For some of us, that maelstrom turns into a miraculous moment: poetry suddenly makes sense, becomes a tool that enables clarity and understanding of the messed up and the marvelous. And then, as we venture further into the craft, we suddenly reach a point of no-return and our worst fears are realised: we are becoming – or have become – points.

Featured here are some of Perth’s best and brightest emerging queer poets, those brave souls who have passed the point of no-return. These individuals are now forging a path for themselves that sees language open up and unravel, reinventing itself every time a poem is written.

And they aren’t alone: the queer poetry scene here is Perth is booming. Events such as queer poetry night OUTspoken, which appears at The Sparrow’s Nest in Vic Park, are helping a whole new generation of wordsmiths find an audience and like-minded individuals among whom they steadily hone their skills.

Add Spoken Word Perth, a weekly multicultural poem-fest that appears on William Street, and Perth Poetry Club at The Moon, and you soon realise Perth’s poetry scene is more fertile than ever before.

And so it should be. After all, the best things emerge from Perth, and there is a rich history of incredible poets and literary talents that call Western Australia home. No doubt, in time, the emerging poets here will find their place among those stars…


Alex Biddle_02NAME: Alex Biddle

AGE: 17

STYLE: Free form / spoken word / slam

INFLUENCES: Shane Koyczan, Sarah Kay, Neil Hilborn

BEST ADVICE GIVEN: “Just, do it” – Shia Labouf.

The only person you are going to be with your whole life is yourself, so do what makes you happy, love yourself, eat chocolate and when you break pick up the pieces and put yourself together as kintsukuroi. – Alex Biddle.

You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that one person is you. – Unknown American professor

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I have my chapbook Journey (Department of Poetry, 2015), I have been in multiple zines, published on Uneven Floor, perfected the pavlova at 12 and currently own approximately 13-14 traffic cones.

GOAL: What most kids want these days, stable income, affordable living, and to not go through another depression. I’d also like to participate in a slam, sadly the last two years I’ve been too young for the venues but 2016, you’re going to see me painting the town yellow

SPECIAL SKILL: I’d like to thank my teen angst for inspiring most of my poetry, a skill that has helped me to write is being able to delve into some really personal issues current or not and to be comfortable doing so which makes a lot of my work very raw, you know that it’s real, it’s me, and the metaphors don’t always make sense.


I swam 11 seas of absent, physical greed

with a heart so blank

I cut wire connections with blunt scissors 

but I did it, I did it for you.

Jakob boyd

NAME: Jakob Boyd AKA Laundry Man

AGE: 20

STYLE: Punk / Doctor Who / Lots of Red

INFLUENCES: The people in the Perth Poetry Scene are my family, and my biggest inspiration. I also get a lot of ideas from obscure punk bands.

BEST ADVICE GIVEN: Tough one… but a guy at a party the other night said to me ‘everything has its season’.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I run a little zine press called Department of Poetry. I’ve put on a stage show re-imagining Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, I’ve won a slam, featured at some really cool events and I just got accepted in to Cordite!

GOAL: To go with the flow and make cool things happen.

SPECIAL SKILL: Alliteration, assonance and active abstraction wink emoticon

QUOTE: You can’t teach a new dog old tricks

JesseNAME: Jesse Oliver

AGE: 26

STYLE: In-your-face Hip Hop meets quiet Sunday poetry reading where everyone has too many feelings and we all just need a hug.

INFLUENCES: Drake. Jks. I consider myself pretty fresh, but I’d have to say that Youtube sensation Watsky got me started. Since then, I wouldn’t say influenced but I’ve definitely been inspired by anyone and everyone who slams. Man, you humans are brave people.

BEST ADVICE GIVEN: “They don’t need to like it. That’s not why you wrote it.”

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Stepping out of my bedroom and into the world. Doing the things that scare me. Since I tried the bravery thing, I was able to get my work out there. I recently placed third at the Australian Poetry Slam State Finals and I will be appearing on a “Trans Stories” panel at this year’s National Youth Writers Festival in Newcastle.

GOAL: To be honest, and you have to excuse the squish, I’m happy just writing. I’ve been blessed with the literary opportunities I’ve had this year and all I want is to keep writing. #writeordie

SPECIAL SKILL: Articulation sensation wrapped in metaphor. I write audio aesthetic by using a lot of alliteration, rhyme and rhythm. I like my work to have layers and numerous interpretations.

QUOTE:One confession keeps messing with my circumstance

I shouldn’t listen, dismissing all irrelevance

But I can never forget, just like the elephants

How is life too short to hold on to regrets?


Mel Knight

NAME: Melanie Knight

AGE: 25

STYLE: urban romantic

INFLUENCES: Anais Nin, Charles Bukowski, Maya Angelou

BEST ADVICE GIVEN: You’re never too late, too old, or too short

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Opening Perth’s Queer Poetry Night as part of the 2015 Perth Poetry Festival

GOAL: Quit the ‘grey suits and mindless routines’ 9-5 and become a songwriter, travelling the world. Preferably with a babin’ wife.

QUOTE: I hang the washing each sunny day, so the sunshine on our clothes can seep into our skin.

We’ll need it.

For there will be storms to weather and on the darkest of days we’ll need every bit of sunshine we can get.

Story and profiles by Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Image of Alex Biddle by Iosha Jasmyn

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