Industry responses to Australia’s Poet Laureate position

The National Cultural Policy heralds a Poet Laureate posting. What do the poets think?

The Australian poetry community is agog with the news that the nation is poised to have its first official Poet Laureate in over 200 years, a position that has been created under the Federal Government’s new National Cultural Policy (NCP).

As The Age pointed out, the very first Australian Poet Laureate was actually a former convict named Michael Massey Robinson. He was appointed to the role by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810 and granted two cows for his services writing odes to commemorate royal birthdays. Over two centuries later, the next appointment for the position is slated to occur in 2025.

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Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy