Group Texts

View all events in this series

at The Wheeler Centre

Solid Air: Australian Spoken Word Poetry

If poetry is enjoying a resurgence of interest right now, it's partly because spoken word has given the whole art form a powerful shot in the arm, on both the stage and the page. 

What's driving this renewed energy, and how are artists blending (and bending) genres and art forms? What are the links between music, spoken word and resistance? And how is the latest upswell of interest linked to First Nations storytelling and the groundbreaking spoken word movements of the past? 

Hosted by Anne-Marie Te Whiu and David Stavanger, editors of the new anthology Solid Air: Australian & New Zealand Spoken Word, our third Group Texts event will feature electrifying local performers and practitioners of spoken word. Join us for an evening of conversation and performance.

Hares & Hyenas will be our bookseller for this event.


Portrait of Anne-Marie Te Whiu

Anne-Marie Te Whiu

Anne-Marie Te Whiu is a Māori-Australian writer, weaver, producer and editor - Solid Air: Australia and New Zealand Spoken Word (UQP) and Whisper Songs (UQP).

Her writing has been published in Ora Nui, Te Whē, Sport, Cordite, Rabbit, among others.

Portrait of David Stavanger

David Stavanger

David Stavanger is an Australian poet, performer, cultural producer, editor and lapsed psychologist. His first full-length poetry collection The Special (UQP) was awarded the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. David is the co-editor of  SOLID AIR: Collected Australian & New Zealand Spoken Word (UQP) and his latest collection Case Notes (UWAP) won the 2021 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry. 

These days he lives between the stage and the page.

Portrait of PiO


π.O. is a legendary figure in the Australian poetry scene, born and bred in Fitzroy, the great chronicler of Melbourne and its culture and migrations, a highly disciplined anarchist who worked as a draughtsman for forty years to support his art.

He is currently editor of the experimental magazine Unusual Work. He is a pioneer of performance poetry in Australia and the author of many collections, including Panash, Fitzroy Poems, Big Numbers: New and Selected Poems, and the two epic works 24 Hours and Fitzroy: The Biography. His book Heide with Giramondo won the Judith Wright Calanthe Award in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry in the same year. 

Portrait of Laniyuk


Laniyuk is a writer and performer of poetry and short memoir. She contributed to the book Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives in 2015, has been published online in Djed Press and the Lifted Brow, as well as in poetry collections such as Solid Air (UQP 2019). She received Canberra’s Noted Writers Festival’s 2017 Indigenous Writers Residency, Overland’s 2018 Writers Residency and was shortlisted for Overland’s 2018 Nakata-Brophy poetry prize. She is Cordite Poetry Review's current Indigenous Engagement Editor, runs poetry workshops for festivals such as Girls Write Up, moderates panel discussions, and has given lectures at ANU and The University of Melbourne.  She is currently completing her first collection of work to be published.

Portrait of Emilie Zoey Baker

Emilie Zoey Baker

Emilie Zoey Baker is an award-winning poet, teacher and spoken-word performer who has toured internationally. She was a fellow at the State Library of Victoria, coordinator of the Australian National Slam, and was core faculty for the spoken word program at Canada's Banff Centre. She teaches in schools and universities and is creative director of OutLoud a youth slam poetry competition presented with Australian Poetry.

Portrait of Joelistics


Joelistics’ great gift is the crafting of common language into evocative turns of phrase. As a rapper, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor and advocate for diversity, he is recognised as a unique voice in the Australian music scene from his early seminal work with alt rap group TZU to working as a solo artist to the critically acclaimed theatre show In Between Two.

Portrait of Fury


Bjork once said 'you shouldn’t let poets lie to you', but Fury writes poetry, which is a sort of lie, albeit the fun-for-everyone kind. Fury has written a book called I Don’t Understand How Emotions Work. It is a very good book; soft and tricky, like leaning your face against your favourite swan.

Portrait of Eco!Slam 2019 Winners

Eco!Slam 2019 Winners

Upani Perera, Zhoujing Chu, Neha De Alwis and Ruth Jarra are Year 11 students from Nossal High School who had the opportunity to compete in the 2019 Eco!Slam Poetry Competition. Coming in with only a tentative interest and vague idea of the workings of slam poetry, the four girls performed their poem without knowing what to expect. The girls each come from different cultural backgrounds but were raised in Australia, which led to choosing to speak on a topic that is valuable to them: how they fit into a country that is hugely different from their families’ homelands.

Group Texts

Group Texts is a new Wheeler Centre mini-series spotlighting excellent Australian genre writers. Each season, we'll zero in on a different category of popular fiction. Hear reflections and provocations on key issues and ideas about your favourite genre. Romance junkies, fantasy freaks, crime fiends, YA addicts – these talks are for you.  


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.