The effect of the “Melbourne Voice” on Australian Poetry

This article by Jonno Revanche at Kill Your Darlings has some interesting things to say about the shaping of writing in Australia as it’s determined by the “scene” of major cities.

Right Place, Right Time: How the Melbourne Voice shuts writers out

If every city has its own unique culture, it’s also true that most people who grow up in that culture internalise the ideas that are considered important within that particular time and space. Melbourne is one of the strongest examples of this that I’ve ever come into contact with. Writers from Melbourne are romanticised as individuals, locations in the city itself are romanticised, and particular concepts that resonate there are prioritised over everything else.

Discussions about the concept of Melbourne-centrism have been a strong cause of division in my personal and artistic lives. Whenever I bring it up, people either respond with enthusiastic and empathetic agreement, or derisively tell me I’m ‘just projecting’.

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I am wondering (if we take the scenario as true) what the effect is on Poetry in Australia?  A small fragmented poetry culture skewed toward a particular aesthetic? A continually smaller, insular poetry culture divorced from wider Australian culture?


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