Performing Poetics: Modern Woman

Presented by Bella Li

Performing as part of the Melbourne Art Book Fair highlight program Performing Poetics: Modern Woman is a collaborative, site-based work—part poetry reading, part theatre—centring on the representation and performance of gender. Responding to the quasi-domestic composition of objects on display in the 17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery, and taking cues from Jean Genet’s The Maids, the work showcases poets with recent publications from three independent presses—Cordite Books, Slow Loris and Vagabond Press.


Bella Li is the author of Argosy (Vagabond Press, 2017), which won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry and the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry, Lost Lake (Vagabond Press, 2018), shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, and Theory of Colours (Vagabond Press, 2021). 

LK Holt’s latest poetry collection, Capacity, is out this year from Vagabond Press. Her book Birth Plan was shortlisted for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry and the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry. She is the recipient of the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry and the Grace Leven Prize, and has been longlisted for the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal. She lives in Narrm/Melbourne.

Ursula Robinson-Shaw is a writer living in Narrm/Melbourne. Her work has appeared in OverlandAustralian Poetry JournalBest of Australian PoemsBest New Zealand Poems, and elsewhere. She is co-director of sick leave, a reading series and journal.

Lucy Van writes poetry and criticism. She has been a writer in residence at Overland (2019–2020), and a Melbourne Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2018–2019). Her recent publications include a long-form essay about Australia, southeast Asia, and the possibilities of decolonial travel (Katipunan), and a discursive study of the reality television program, House Hunters International (Liminal Book Review). Her major research project is directed towards the forthcoming title, The Beginning of the Poem. Her first poetry collection is The Open (Cordite 2021).