‘A constellation of words and seeing’ – Cath Drake’s The Verandah

Discovery is what I want when I write a poem, when I read a poem. I want to be left changed … If the poem is good, I am a different human being for having made the journey through that particular constellation of words, seeing, imagination, music and understanding. Jane Hirshfield

  • Dive into Poetry, three sessions of reading and writing poetry together – is there anything more enjoyable and rewarding? Expert guidance, inspiration for writing and enriching discussion. Flex your creative muscle. Sundays, starting 15 May. 
  • Poetry feedback workshops to help take your poems to the next level. Make your good poems even better.  Mondays or Wednesdays, starting in May (intermediate and advanced).
  • The Power of Poetry Rhyme with Mimi Khalvati 23/5/22 : one of The Verandah’s most favourite teachers and poets, Mimi Khalvati, explores the wonder and power of poetic rhyme.  SOLD OUT – sign up for waiting list.  
  • Experiment with Poetic Voice:  Masterclass with Karen McCarthy Woolf, 16/5/22 Award-winning poet, Karen McCarthy Woolf leads a poetry masterclass experimenting with voice to expand and enhance our poetic repertoire. How can we take on voices other than our own? How can we create a strong, authentic and consistent voice in our poetry?

Coming up later in 2022 … More masterclasses including with Hannah Lowe – UK (Breaking the Sonnet on 23/6/22), Judith Beveridge – Australia (Lyrical Poetry on 11/7/22), Paul Hetherington & Cassandra Atherton – Australia, Caroline Bird – UK and more! Join the mailing list HERE to hear about these.

Part of the UK/Australia Season of Culture 2021/22.


Refreshing poetry & creativity programme into 2022 with Cath Drake’s The Verandah

  • Mindfulness and Poetry Uplift to get your year off to a good start and recharge your energy and creativity. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and improve well-being, clarity, focus and creativity. Of course, I’ve thrown in a sprinkling of poetry and a period of writing together for a weekly uplift! Writing with mindfulness gives your writing a refreshing edge. Six short 30-45min sessions, weekly January to February. 
  • Refresh 2022! The new year isn’t far away. It may not have been the easiest of years for many of us, so let’s refresh and reflect on another year with journaling, mindfulness and, of course, some choice poetry. Set aside time for yourself: you deserve it. Get ready for a great 2022. Sunday 16 January. (Tming best for Perth & UK Audiences.)
  • Dive into Poetry, three sessions, monthly, of reading and writing poetry together – is there anything more enjoyable and rewarding? Expert guidance, inspiration for writing and enriching discussion. Flex your creative muscle. Sundays, starting 9 Jan.  This is for beginners to intermediate level. Try something new this new year!  (Best for Perth & UK Audiences.)
  • Three new year poetry feedback workshops to help take your poems to the next level. Do you have a new year’s resolution to focus more on your writing and to send your pieces out for publication? Make your good poems even better.  Mondays, starting 10 Jan.
  • The Making of a Sonnet with Mimi Khalvati, is the first of The Verandah’s one hour interactive sessions with poetry masters on how they created some of their best poems. Mimi is our most sought after teacher with peerless wisdom on writing and editing sonnets. SOLD OUT
  • Crafting a prize-winning poem with Professor Paul Hetherington, revered Aussie poet with 16 collections to his name. Paul takes you through the process of creating one of his best poems that won a major prize in 2020. Spend a rich hour with Paul, 28 February. NEW

Coming up later in 2022 … More masterclasses including with Judith Beveridge, Paul Hetherington & Cassandra Atherton, Caroline Bird, Karen McCarthy Woolf and more!

Part of the UK/Australia Season of Culture 2021/22.



International Laurel Prize

The Shaking City was longlisted in the international Laurel Prize. The prize is run by the Poetry School and funded by the UK poet Laureate Simon Armitage’s Laureate’s honorarium, which he receives annually from the Queen . It is awarded to the best collection of environmental or nature poetry published the previous year. Congrats to the winners and all on the longlist. It’s a lovely booklist to dip into!



Courageous connections in poetry in the 2020s – new programme!

My virtual poetry programme, The Verandah, part of the UK/Australia Season of Culture 2021/22, kicks off in September / October and runs until late 2022. There’s high quality timely poetry workshops, masterclasses, debates, readings, mindfulness & poetry sessions – all led by and featuring top UK & Aussie poets.  

The theme of the Season is Who are we Now? My take on this is given COVID-19, the immense environmental and social challenges we face both locally and globally, who are we now in relation to our connection with our land and people? How can we describe, challenge or create new connections with our land and people in the 2020s?  Poets are inherently courageous in searching for truth and meaning. Find out more about the wider Season HERE. As usual, events are afternoon/evening time in Australia & mornings in UK.

First offerings

Coming up

  • More masterclasses
  • Poetry & Mindfulness sessions from November.

A Reading to Buoy Us + new writing workshops

reading logo 3

It’s been wonderful and terrifically buoying writing about these challenging times with writers across Australia and UK. Join our celebratory reading on 6th June. Hopefully our creativity will help buoy you too.

We’re thrilled that our guest reader is Mark Tredinnick OAM, one of Australia’s most celebrated poets who has published many books of memoir and poetry, wonderful essays and has a long list of prizes, including the Cardiff and Montreal Poetry Prize. Mark has a strong focus on the natural world and his most recent poetry book is ‘A Gathered Distance’ (Birdfish, 2020).

We’ll read highlights of our poems and stories from across the UK (incl. Liverpool, London, Lincoln, Devon, Worcester, Margate) and Australia (incl. Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast), plus also Auckland from:

Kate Potts, Bree Alexander, Rita Tognini, Be Manzini, Cyndie Innes, Babs Knightley, Kathleen Broderick, Jessica Taggart Rose, Nina Lewis, NJ Hynes, Kathy Armstrong, Tineke Van der Eecken, Lesley Sawyer, Edna Heled, Eleanor Yule, Gayelene Carbis, Colin Hopkirk, Janet Chan & Cath Drake

Sign up to the free event HERE

Please arrive on time as we may be close the meeting room a little after the start. It will be about 1.5hrs long.

Saturday 6 June – do check and double check your timezone 11am UK (GMT+1)  /  6pm Perth, Australia /  8pm Australian Eastern Standard time

If you want to sign up to next term which starts in late June CLICK HERE for dates and info, or CONTACT ME


Clerkenwell cabaret live-stream

Award winning poetry, comedy and songwriting from Tyrone Lewis, Cath Drake, Catherine Rudie, Steve Parry and Chris Dowding – all wrapped up in one 90-minute Facebook livestream. Like assembling the avengers for a slanging match against the temptations of silence and solipsism. Or something. Here amongst the Indoor Fireworks.
Wednesday 27 May. Brought to you by Diego Brown and the Good Fairy. 💯♨️♨️♨️


clerkenwell arts may 20

XR People Of The River Rise!

I’m reading with a fab group of writers to highlight the impact of climate change on rising waters . XR People Of The River Rise was meant to be held live beside the Thames but it’s now online! Presented by XR Writers Rebel & Culture Declares Emergency, introduced by Toby Litt with readings by novelists James Miller, Monique Roffey, Courtia Newland, Jessica Townsend, Chloe Aridjis, Jeff Goodell, Clare Morrall, Edward Platt.

Zoom, Wed 20th of May, 7.30 pm.  Sign up FREE here:

A truly global launch of The Shaking City

Thanks so so much to everyone who came to The Shaking City launch!
Over the 2 timezone launch events there were about 130 people from across the globe: Wales, Scotland, England, USA (Texas), Bangkok, Switzerland, Malta, Australia (Melbourne, NSW, Queensland, Canberra and Wheatbelt, Albany, Fitzroy Crossing, Fremantle and Perth in WA), Delft (Netherlands) and probably many more I can’t remember. A few tears were shed. Lots of fun and incredible connections.

‘The Shaking City’ is born

Cath Drake wants to grasp the world whole. When she looks at the past, it’s with a big rambunctious energy that has implications for the present. These are restless and generous poems, full of the vivid reality of people’s lives. Read them as a guide to staying clear-eyed, combative and caring in unsettled times. (Philip Gross)

Amid all the chaos in the world, my new book is available to order.  I’m planning an online book launch in April. Order it from Seren Books

Come to the online launch on 17th of April 8pm or noon 18th April (both in UK time but open to all across the globe) – rsvp.

Read my blog on the book’s release.

Cath Drake cover.jpg

Amy Wack, poetry editor, Seren Books: Cath Drake’s native Australia features large in her debut collection of poems, The Shaking City. Author of a Mslexia magazine prize-winning pamphlet, Drake fashions adroit narratives, lush landscapes and keenly observed character portraits. The Shaking City itself stands for both the unease of the narrator and the swiftly changing times we live in.

Helen Mort: Cath Drake’s poems deftly explore conflict and the future of our changing, imperilled planet – in a poem about climate emergency, the narrator muses wryly ‘sometimes I hold world in one hand, my life / in the other’. This is a collection alive to dilemmas. Her writing is searching, witty and full of compassion, helping us navigate a shifting world.

Karen McCarthy Woolf: Cath Drake’s lush, lyric poems are full of inquisitive movement that traverses a network of meridians between her native Australia and the UK.  Like midday sun in a desert, their narrative strikes hard in its passionate counterpoint between the absurdities of the human condition and our most urgent environmental concerns.

Kate Potts: In Cath Drake’s The Shaking City, inhabitants and buildings wobble, crack, shudder, unpeel and regrow their own skin. They seek out ways to endure: sturdy-framed lives, bricks strong enough to withstand hurricanes, wolves, and the weight of unspoken trauma. In this world, close and passionate attention is paid to the beauty and strangeness of nature, and of everyday life. The Shaking City’s tall tales explore existence across boundaries, and in between places: the folkloric bunyip appearing in the kitchen, the would-be lovers stuck (perhaps forever) on the circle line, the speaker who catches the hide of the world and fashions it into a handbag. This joyful, exuberant, wildly imaginative collection exhorts us all to unmoor our minds, to ‘live among the strange and shining.




Waymaking is a winner

Waymaking, an anthology of prose, poetry and art by women inspired by wild places and outdoor adventure, has been selected as the winner of the Mountain Literature (Non-Fiction) The Jon Whyte Award in the international 2019 Banff Mountain Book  Competition in Alberta, Canada.

I have a long poetic sequence that is dispersed throughout the book about walking the Camino de Santiago.

“This superb collection of women’s short stories, poems, and illustrations is full of gems from end to end. Waymaking is an immersion into the tears, giggles, sighs, and love that have gone into producing this precious yet ground-breaking work.” Paul McSorley, 2019 Book Competition Jury

It’s also on the Guardian’s top travel gift books.