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Take a fresh look at your poetry with accomplished poet Heather Taylor Johnson, exploring the playful and creative possibilities of editing and form.

Sometimes a poem just comes to you, and the editing is a satisfying part of the process that involves minor squabbles with commas, tiny words deleted here and there for rhythm, or maybe a synonym or metaphor to strengthen the language. Other times, poems can be unruly and mysterious even to oneself, and though what you want to say may be on the page, something’s not working and you don’t quite know what that ‘something’ is. The editing and revising that comes then can be the most playful and creative part of the process. This is where the poet begins to mess with form.

Form is an active part of a poem, not just an aesthetic, so this workshop looks at how different forms DO different things within a poem. We will create new works, and participants are asked to bring at least one poem you’ve lived with for a while and still can’t get a handle on – and we’ll see if we can’t set it straight.


Participants will learn:

  • How to think widely and wildly about structure
  • How to interrogate structure’s meaning within a poem and how to negotiate possible new meanings with new structures
  • How to recognise when a poem’s structure is actively working for the poem
  • How to play with structure in your edits
  • How to make editing fun


About Heather Taylor Johnson

Heather Taylor-Johnson is a multi-form writer living and working on Kaurna land near Port Adelaide. Her most recent poetry books are the verse novel Rhymes with Hyenas and the collection Alternative Hollywood Ending. An anthology she edited, Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain, was the winner of the Mascara Avant Garde Award and is read in disability circles around the world. Her second novel, Jean Harley was Here, was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Fiction and optioned for a 7-part TV series. In 2022 she won Island’s Nonfiction Prize and was shortlisted for ABR’s Calibre Prize and the Red Room Poetry Fellowship. She’s an arts critic and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide, where she also earned a PhD in Creative Writing.


Venue: Morgan Thomas Room, State Library, North Terrace, Adelaide SA

Members $88 / Non-members $140


—Not yet a Writers SA member? Join here for as little as $60!

—We strongly recommend all staff, speakers, and attendees of in-person events be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You cannot attend if you are unwell or you or a close family member test positive to Covid-19 in the five days prior to this event. See our full policy here.

—Writers SA members must be logged in to receive the member discount. If you would like to use a workshop credit to book in, please contact [email protected] at least five working days before the workshop commencement date. Our staff don’t work full time and we don’t want you to miss out!

—If you are a member of another state based writers centre or a member of SCBWI SA, please contact [email protected] at least five working days before the program commencement date to get a code for the member price.

  • Starts: May 27th, 2023 1:00 PM
  • Finishes: May 27th, 2023 4:00 PM

Registration Details

Registration for this event ended on May 26th, 2023 3:45 PM