The Music of Poetry

The Music of Poetry is a collaborative project between Great Southern and interstate poets and musicians. 


The project had its genesis in the work of Adelaide musician Jen Lush, who had included local poet and recent winner of the 2020 WA Premier’s Award for Emerging Writer Renee Pettit-Schipp as part of her ‘The Night’s Insomnia’ album. Renee said “how wonderful would it be if Jen could come to DFoV”, and from there, the idea grew for a creative collaboration across the nation resulting in new works. 


The project is based on the premise that poetry and music can come together in ways which reveal, express and evoke new resonances in the works, the artists and audience. As Jen Lush says “Once a poem is found, I find it so thrilling to open it up like a gift and find the melody and the rhythm, to let the new limitations drive me into new decisions I would never have taken before”.

We are so delighted to have this project be apart of the Denmark Festival of Voice program for 2021.

Our Performers

Jen Lush

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Jen Lush is known for her spacious and emotive, melodic storytelling in songs that hammer on your heart. Her love of words and music coalesce on the folk-tinged music of her 2017 album The Night’s Insomnia – twelve contemporary Australian poems crafted into songs, and her recent project created for the Festival of the Voice, a collaboration with poets from WA and SA in an exciting performance of songs and live readings. Jen and her stellar band have appeared at festivals and venues throughout SA, Victoria, NSW and Tasmania and will release their new album ‘Let Loose The Beating Birds’ in 2021.

Marianthe Loucataris


Marianthe Loucataris is a composer, multi instrumentalist, sound designer and singer songwriter. She has had a diverse career; from touring nationally and internationally with indie rock out-fit machine translations to collaborative work with filmmakers and visual artists.

Barbra Temperton

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Barbara Temperton is inspired by the diverse landscapes and stories of Western Australia. Her first poetry collection was “The Snow Queen Takes Lunch in the Station Café” with two other poets in Shorelines (1994). Going Feral, her first solo collection, won the 2002 WA Premier's Book Award for Poetry. Southern Edge: three stories in verse appeared in 2009 (Fremantle Press). Barbara's work in progress is an elegy for love and environment. 

Barbara has actively engaged with writing since the early 1980s. In addition to poetry, Barbara has also published short fiction, reviews and non-fiction articles, co-written plays, songs, and has freelanced as an editor. Her experience ranges from teaching in tertiary institutions to enabling communities as diverse as survivors of family violence, people with disabilities, isolated towns, and mentoring new writers.

Graham Kershaw

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Graham Kershaw is the author of Undersummer, The Home Crowd and Dovetail Road, and editor of Dark Diamonds. 


Born in Lancashire, England, Graham has since 2007 lived in Denmark, Western Australia, where he practises as an architect and runs Hallowell Press, a small publisher specialising in local art and literature, using a combination of traditional letterpress, printmaking and digital technologies.

Graham’s work has been shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Award, received an Australia Council grant, and won the 2012 Blake Poetry Prize and a Val Vallis Award. He has been featured at Radio National, Perth International Arts Festival, Great Southern Arts Festival, ‘In Conversation’ Series, Sydney, Denmark Festival of Voice, Perth Writers Festival, and Brave New Works.

Ali Cobby-Eckermann


Ali Cobby Eckermann’s first collection little bit long time was written in the desert and launched her literary career in 2009. In 2013 Ali toured Ireland as Aust. Poetry Ambassador and won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and Book Of The Year (NSW) for Ruby Moonlight, a massacre verse novel. In 2014 Ali was the inaugural recipient of the Tungkunungka Pintyanthi Fellowship at Adelaide Writers Week, and the first Aboriginal Australian writer to attend the International Writing Program at University of Iowa. In 2017 Ali received a Windham Campbell Award for Poetry from Yale University USA and was awarded a Literature Fellowship by the Australian Council for the Arts in 2018. Ali was granted a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship in Italy in 2019, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at RMIT Melbourne.

Kim Scott

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Kim Scott is a multi-award winning novelist, having twice won the Miles Franklin Award (for Benang and That Deadman Dance) among many other Australian literary prizes. His most recent novel is Taboo (Picador, 2017).  Proud to be one among those who call themselves Noongar, Kim is also founder and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories (, which is responsible for a number of bilingual (Noongar and English) picture books and regional performances of story and song. Two books, A Companion to the Works of Kim Scott (Camden House, 2016) and Kim Scott: language, readers and interpretation (UWAP, 2019) deal with aspects of his writing and career.  He received an Australian Centenary Medal and was 2012 West Australian of the Year. Kim is currently Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University.

Maree Dawes

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Maree has collaborated with a range of artists throughout her writing career including dancers, visual artists and musicians. She has always found that these kinds of collaborations push her work forward as well as expanding her view of theoretical, philosophical and artist aspects of the material she is developing. Maree lives on the Northern face of Mt Clarence in Albany, and this environment often often finds its way into her work.

Maria Zajkowski

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Maria Zajkowski is an award-winning poet, lyricist and librettist based in Melbourne. A regular collaborator with composer Wally Gunn, her first collection, The Ascendant (Puncher & Wattmann) features on the Grammy nominated album Render by Roomful of Teeth. In 2019, her first libretto, Moonlite, a true crime queer love story based on Captain Moonlite and his lover James Nesbitt, premiered in the US. Maria has been a guest at numerous residencies in collaboration, including the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She twice won The Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize and has been shortlisted for numerous other awards. Her second collection, What we have except when we are lost, written with MTC Cronin, is forthcoming through Spuyten Duyvil in New York. Maria is currently completing Icon, a personal response to Alzheimer’s disease.

Reneé Pettitt-Schipp


Reneé Pettitt-Schipp an award winning writer and educator who lived in the Indian Ocean Territories from 2011 until 2014. Her work with asylum seekers in detention on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands inspired her first collection of poetry, ‘The Sky Runs Right Through Us’, published by UWA Publishing in 2018. This manuscript was shortlisted for the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize, the CHASS Australia prize, won Curtin University’s Greg Crombie ‘Work of the Year’ in the 2019 Humanities Research Awards, as well as winning the 2018 WA Premier’s Literary Award for an Emerging Writer. Reneé’s work has been recognized through many literary awards, including the ACU literature prize, the Ros Spencer Poetry Prize, the Grief Poetry Prize and the Trudy Graham Biennial Literary Award. Reneé currently lives in Western Australia’s Great Southern.

2a Strickland Street

Denmark, WA, AUS

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Denmark Arts and the Denmark Festival of Voice honour and acknowledge the First Nations People who are part of Noongar Boodja and who's voices have sung, spoken and storied custodianship and culture for thousands of years. The Festival is under the cultural guidance of Noongar Elders.

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Denmark Festival of Voice is a project of Denmark Arts Council Inc

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