Live poetry and spoken-word

For anyone who’s writing, wants to write, or just wants to soak up some poetry, I can’t encourage you enough to get out and see one of your local poetry events. Click the titles for more info on each event. This list was compiled in September 2018 and updated August 2019. While information was current to the best of my knowledge, please check details with organisers / venues before you go.


NSW Northern Rivers and Gold Coast

Follow North Coast Poetry and Spoken Word for updates.

POETS OUT LOUD!! Murwillumbah’s new open mic, with feature poets and the occasional slam. Run by Sarah Temporal. Third Thursday of the month at Bacaro Cafe in M-Arts Precinct, 6:30-9pm, $10 donation.

Alternator Poetry: Last Thursday of the month at Dust Temple, Currumbin QLD. Fifth Thursdays are slams, others open mic. One of my faves.

Lismore Live Poets: Second Wednesday of the month at the Rous Hotel, Lismore. A long-standing event of 27 years run by master poet David Hallett.

Writers at the Rails: First Sunday of the season (spring, summer, autumn, winter) from 2pm at the Rails hotel, Byron Bay. Plus a gala event during Byron Writers Festival. Open mic and slam.

Nimbin Poets: First Thursdays at 7pm, Nimbin Bowlo. Check FB for venue confirmation. Open mic. Run by the beautiful crew who independently bring us the Performance Poetry World Cup.

Poly Poetry: Second Thursdays, 7pm start, $10 with food specials. Themed open mic. Marie Anita’s Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe, Mermaid Beach, QLD.

Unplugged: New weekly night of poetry, comedy and music. Wednesdays at 6pm, 7-21/23 Tasman Way, Byron Bay.

Temple of Words: Open mic. 3rd Fridays, Corner Palms, 1/16 Brigantine St, Byron Bay. $10.

Mullum’s poetry night: 4th friday of the month, 6pm to 8.30 pm, Studio F, 28 mill street Mullumbimby. $10.

Word Play: First Wednesday of every month, 7pm, ‘Dusty Attic Music Lounge’ 149 Woodlark St, Lismore. Free.

Pluckers and poets: 2nd Sunday of every month, 4pm, Dunoon Sports Club. Music/poetry open mic. Free.

Empire Poets Society: Pop-up event Empire cafe, Mullumbimby. $5.

Dangerously Poetic: Pop-up events around Northern Rivers.


Ruckus Slam: Brisbane’s infamous open mic SLAM! Your original work – poem, song, rant, lyrics. Also runs a youth slam and cabaret slam.

Poetry Showetry: new night in West End

Kurilpa Poets: last Sunday of every month; at the Old Croquet Club on the corner of Musgrave Park, 91 Cordelia Street, West End. Also holds the Kurilpa Cup.

Sunshine Coast

Poet’s Corner: second Saturdays 2pm at Riba Kai Cafe, 1/14 Newspaper Pl, Maroochydore.

Sunshine Coast Spoken Word: Third Saturday 2pm at Homegrown cafe, Palmwoods. Hosted by Robyn Archbold (Archie). Open mic +feature poets, $10 entry.

The Bunker Spoken Word: quarterly open mic event and workshop series developing local talent and showcasing national and international poets and storytellers.


Poetica: a night for wordsmithing. We want to hear your words. 3 minutes /open mic. Monthly. Bondi Bowling Club.

Sappho Poetry: second Tuesday of every month (except January), 7pm. 3-4 poets + limited open mic. Sappho bookshop, Glebe.

Caravan Slam: Caravan Slam is a loose collection of poets whose joy is to bring performance poetry to the world. We perform all over Sydney.

Bankstown Poetry Slam: the largest regular poetry slam in the country. We host monthly slams at the Bankstown Arts Centre. BPS on last Tuesday of the month, plus Flip the Script youth open mic/workshop last Monday of month.

Live poets at Don Bank: Live Poets meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month from February to November (inclusive). We feature special guests in poetry and unplugged music. We also welcome in our open section anyone who wants to recite, sing, tell a story, or play an instrument.

West Side Poetry Slam: Open mic night, 3rd Wednesday of every month, 91B Grose St North Parramatta

The Sydney Poetry Lounge is a poetry open-mic at The Friend in Hand, Glebe. First Tuesday of every month.

Spoken at Lentils: open mic night open to newbies and old timers alike. time limit is eight minutes. Lentil as Anything, Newtown

Word-In-Hand: Sydney’s premier and most diverse performance and storytelling gig, held on the first Tuesday of every second month at the Red Rattler in Marrickville. Re-launching in Feb 2019.

Poets @ Petersham Bowlo: monthly open mic soiree (3rd Thurs each month, from 6.30pm)

Loose Leaf literature: Lazybones Lounge, Marrickville. Tickets are $10 on the door or available online via Eventbrite. Good food and drinks available all night.

Poetry Sydney held by Brett Whiteley Studio: regular poetry readings, now held on the first Sunday of the month from March to November. Admission is free.

Narellan Poetry Slam: new event at Harry Hartog booksellers. Third Tuesday of the month, 6:30 for 7pm. Admission $5.

Sydney surrounds

Enough Said Poetry Slam: Poetry, poets, people who love poetry and poets, in Wollongong. Last Thursday of every month.

Girls on Key is a gig series featuring female and non-binary poets raising funds for a variety of charities. We have chapters in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Castlemaine and Port Kembla.

Central Coast and Newcastle

Poetry at Pub 3rd & 5th Mondays of the Month at the Wickham Park Hotel, corner of Maitland Road and Albert St, Wickham, commencing at 7.30pm.

Word Hurl Antislam  a no rules, spoken word, open mic, poetry night. 1st Tuesday of the month at the Clarendon, Newcastle.

Heart Open A bi-monthly celebration of creativity, featuring women and non-binary artists of all kinds.

Outspoken bi-monthly event featuring feminist women in conversation

The Press Book House hosts occasional poetry readings

Cuplet A monthly night of top class touring and local poets at The Beaumont, Hamilton


That Poetry Thing at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop every Monday, 7-9pm

BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! at Smiths Alternative, the 3RD WEDNESDAY of every month. Sign-up 7:30pm, SLAMMING starts at 8pm; it is all over by 11pm.

Canberra Slamboree: Slam last Friday of the month at Gang Gang Cafe.


See Melbourne Spoken Word, the online portal to all of the upcoming events in the live spoken word and poetry scene, as well as videos, interviews, reviews and opinions.

Adelaide / SA

Sticks and Stones: open mic, 2nd Sunday of each month at The Libertine by Louis. Hosted by Alison Paradoxx

Spoken Word at Captain Rehab: Spoken Word at Captain Rehab happens on the 1st Friday of every month at the wonderful Mixed Creative in Port Adelaide. $2 entry.

Spoken ‘n’ Slurred: open mic by Paroxysm Press, last Sunday of the month, Brick City Bar, Adelaide.

Perth / WA

Spoken Word Perth: open mic event every other Wednesday. Check page for venue and times.

Perth Slam: Last Saturday monthly, Bar 459 Rosemount Hotel, North Perth.

Dirty Mouth: Live music, high-caliber spoken word and anything-goes-open-mic. Check page for venue and times.

Perth Poetry Club: a spoken word show every week in central Perth. The Moon Cafe, William St, Cnr Newcastle Street, Northbridge.

Voicebox Fremantle: a monthly poetry event featuring three invited guests and 10 x five minute open-mic slot. Last Monday of the month, check page for venue.

Northern Territory

The Dirty Word: a poetic community in Alice Springs. There’s TDW every month, TDW presents series and the Red Dirt Poetry Festival! Last Tuesday of (almost) every month usually at Totem Theatre.

Wild Words Darwin: Last Sunday of every month at the Darwin Railway Club in Parap from 3pm to 5pm. Entry is $5, but FREE for performers.


Australian Poetry Slam: Live poetry competition where the audience is the judge. With a nationwide round of 50 heats, the best slammers will compete to win the Australian Poetry Slam National Final at Sydney Opera House. See page for regional and city heats.

Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup: Australia’s largest cash prize for performance poetry with over $5000 in prizes. The annual NPPWC is held on the first weekend of September and is sponsored by the community of Nimbin. Thanks to all the volunteer support the event is growing in size and reputation each season. After the Saturday heats and Sunday semi-finals, 8 finalists perform at the Nimbin Town Hall for the Grand Final Prize on Sunday night.

The Bunker Spoken Word competition: Annual competition based on Sunshine Coast as part of Horizon Festival. Includes workshop opportunities, competitive heats and guest performances all leading up to The Bunker Grand Final.

Poetry Slam at Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival: Prepare 3 poems of 3 minutes (maximum) for 3 possible rounds. Run by Elizabeth Routledge, renowned poet, playwright, actor and local legend.

Melbourne Spoken Word Prize: annual prize awarded for exceptional and innovative performance in the field of spoken word by an artist practising in Melbourne or Victoria.

XYZ Prize for innovation in spoken word: Australia’s only national arts award that recognises the growing field of spoken word and is named after the former 2010 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, Emily XYZ.


Storyfest: A 5-day festival of spoken-word and performing writers, including workshops and international guests. Around October annually, The Rocks, Sydney.

Unspoken Words: September, Red Rattler, Sydney.

Queensland Poetry Festival: An annual event which brings poets from throughout Australia and overseas together for a three day festival in Brisbane. August.

Spoken Word at National Folk Festival: A program of poets, comedians, performers, talks, books, including the Poets’ Breakfast. Easter long weekend, Canberra.

Word at Woodford Folk Festival: A program of slam, bush and performance poetry, debates, storytelling, comedy and the tongue twister that is the strange beast: Word. One week over New Year, Woodford QLD.

Melbourne Spoken Word Festival launched July 2019 with more than 60 events over 18 days.

Red Dirt Poetry Festival in Alice Springs



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