Poetic Portraits


Poetry for Community Wellbeing in Frankston


Opening Event: Thursday 13 October 6pm-8pm.
Registration Essential
Online thefac.com.au or 03 9784 1060


Poetic Portraits promotes poetry as a way to connect with and convey the experiences of women who are impacted by mental health struggles or other challenges to wellbeing. Part of The Big Anxiety 2022, the exhibition will present a series of poems accompanied by sketch portraits of the participants by local artist Caroline Graley.

Poetic Portraits aims to recognise and raise awareness of the diversity of mental health, well-being and isolation issues in the Frankston population – especially as they are experienced by women – and to use poetry as a creative platform through which to connect otherwise disconnected communities and individuals in order to instil a sense of sharing and belonging through creativity. The project has involved two poetry-writing workshops for women who live in Frankston, led by poet Jennifer Harrison, along with one-on-one interviews with participants to connect with and listen more effectively to women’s voices within the community. These activities will result in community-based public outcomes, including an exhibition, publication and a live reading event, which will feature within The Big Anxiety festival program. Participants in the project will each contribute a poem or suite of poems to the publication, which will be accompanied by portraits of the participants, produced by Frankston-based visual artist Caroline Graley. The portraits and excerpts of the poems will also be exhibited in Cube Gallery. The publication will be available for purchase for the duration of the exhibition and at the event launch.


Key Project Contributors

Caroline Graley is a multidisciplinary Australian artist known for her sculpture, installations, figurative paintings and drawings. She has been a finalist in the Portia Geach Portrait Prize, semi-finalist in the Moran Portrait Prize and winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for her Portraits of History Community Arts Project. Caroline’s work examines aspects of the ‘felt sense’ or inner experiencing of the human subject in movement. She has illustrated numerous books and exhibited widely. 

Jennifer Harrison has written eight books of poetry, most recently Anywhy (Black Pepper 2018). A new book Sideshow History will be published in 2022. She manages The Dax Poetry Collection housed in the Dax Centre at the University of Melbourne and is Chair of the World Psychiatry Association’s Art and Psychiatry Section. She is currently working on a new book After which features poems that respond to the work of Irish poet, Eavan Boland (1944-2020). Jennifer is committed to all things community in poetry, especially how poetry can enrich everyday experience and bring people together. 

Cassandra Atherton is a widely anthologised and award-winning prose poet and scholar of prose poetry. She was a Harvard Visiting Scholar in English and a Visiting Fellow at Sophia University. She co-authored Prose Poetry: An Introduction (Princeton University Press, 2020) and co-edited the Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (Melbourne University Press, 2020) with Paul Hetherington. She co-edited Memory Book: Portraits of Older Australians in Poetry and Watercolours (Hunter, 2021) with Jessica Wilkinson. She is a commissioning editor for Westerly magazine, associate editor of MadHat Press (USA) and Professor of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. 

Jessica Wilkinson is the author of three poetic biographies, most recently Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond, 2019). She is the founding editor of Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry and the offshoot Rabbit Poets Series. She co-edited Memory Book: Portraits of Older Australians in Poetry and Watercolours (Hunter, 2021) with Cassandra Atherton. She teaches Creative Writing at RMIT University. 


Image: Caroline Graley, Linda (detail) Charcoal on Paper, 2022. Logo: Big Anxiety Festival 2022.

COVID-Safe Plan

Our COVID-Safe Plan outlines recent changes, which we ask that you comply with when visiting the Frankston Arts Centre. We want to keep our audiences, performers, crew and staff safe and healthy so we can enjoy arts, entertainment and events together! You can view our COVID-Safe changes outlined in full detail here.