Les Wicks

ABN 80 327 486 926




Time Taken – New & Selected (Puncher & Wattmann, 2022)

Belief (Flying Islands, 2019)

Getting By    Not Fitting In (Island, 2016)

El Asombrado (Rochford St, 2015 in Spanish & English)

Sea of Heartbeak (Unexpected Resilience) (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013)

Barking Wings (PressPress, 2012)

Shadows of the Read (Krok, 2011 in Ukrainian & English)

The Ambrosiacs (Island, 2009)

Stories of the Feet (Five Islands, 2004)

Appetites of Light (PressPress, 2002)

The Ways of Waves (SideWaLK, 2000)

Nitty Gritty (Five Islands Press, 1997)

Tickle  (Island, 1993)

Cannibals  (Rochford St Press, 1985)

The Vanguard Sleeps In (Glandular Press, 1981)



Time Taken – New & Selected

If there is a unifying element to the collection beyond the pistol shot of Wicks’ imagery and his cut-through language, it is a fascination with and ability to detect and parse the ambiguities, paradoxes, bivalences, co-existent contraries Paul Scully Text

…the best collection of portraits of Australians who are struggling in contemporary verse. Martin Langford Rochford Review

Les Wicks has been a major influence on me. Not just because of his own wonderful and sustained poetry practise but because of the way he quietly goes about supporting other poets and building up the poetry community. We need more like him! Michele Seminara UWAP

…clarity, strong imagery and a refusal to fall into the strident didacticism of some of his contemporaries. He remains politically engaged, but still equivocal… Micah  Horton Hallett

…full of quirky observations & mordant wit Antonia Hildebrand

…a gift to unwrap slowly and intermittently and repeatedly – to savour and respond to – to learn from – to reflect on and to give thanks. Sarah Tiffen



Belief displays an accomplished elder statesman of Australian poetry laying out with disarming agreeableness some of the fundamental questions of the near future. Often playful, sometimes circular, always self-aware in an optimistic rather than despairing wayLucas Smith Plumwood Mountain

…because his eye is withering and direct, Wicks gives his subjects a dignity and specificity that many a contemporary Australian novelist would envy. Adam Aitken. Communion

WicksBelief is a major contribution to Australian poetry, and an important commentary on contemporary being. ¡­strong and brave, gentle, angry and broken. It tells the truth. Judith Nangala Crispin Verity La

Iconoclastic, irreverent, but always vigorous and compelling Margaret Bradstock

an elaborate mosaic where the tiles are words; paradoxes, satire and the vernacular adorn the pages of this beautifully crafted book. Beatriz Copello Writing NSW

a cascade of witty, erudite and painful nips by a swarm of piranha fish. Richard James Allen APJ

Getting By Not Fitting In

self-aware, debonair, generous, weary, even despondent, yet never despairing. Dominique Hecq

possesses the same Wickensian kaleidoscopic concision, wit and dexterity Carol Jenkins

While such juxtaposition is disquieting, it is also deeply human: this is Wicks’ truest touch. David Thomas Henry Wright

Sea of Heartbeak (Unexpected Resilience)

...the mixture of prawn-on-the-barbie, stale beer and thongs suburban, with a sophisticated lyricism and openness to nature... harvesting poetic truffles; line after line seems to have arrived entire. John Watson, Southerly

... an odyssey buoyed by hope and reckless humour. Rebecca Kylie Law, Rochford St Review

is determined to take the reader on a dive beneath. It took me on a voyage which I found bracing and stimulating at the same time as it did not turn away from the discomforting reality of the costs our lives inflict on our futures. Rae Desmond Jones

Les Wicks has a capacity to invest ordinary truisms with moral and metaphysical nuances…these are tip-of-the-iceberg poems – a surface you can see and admire, but with hidden depths that are both wonderful and disturbing. David Gilbey, ABC Radio

Wicks works his ideas through images rather than argument. The poems are visceral; each shaped towards an emotional experience. John Upton, Mascara

…striking in its complexity & provides a subtlety far beyond its obvious humour. Banjo James

Barking Wings

...cheeky, wry, slightly errant and wayward, sometimes perverse or wicked... Paul Cliff

...image piled up on image, words and sounds crashing to together and, even when we can see ‘blue sky’ for a few lines, we are always aware that another surprise is only a line break away. Mark Roberts Rochford St Review

The Ambrosiacs

Wicks’ The Ambrosiacs visual and tonal senses, shown through a series of relentless escapes and endscapes, create a striking depiction of the poet’s perceptions and observations. Matthew Hall Cordite

…acutely observant, bitingly satirical and as unfailingly generous as ever.  Ralph Wessman Famous Reporter

…an inspired elegy to human suffering and loss, dark and morose at times yet engaging and full of life.  Julie Waugh, Five Bells

…intense, quite relentless, often dark and pessimistic. But this of course is not the whole story, for within these pages are striking moments of grace, awareness, acceptance, restitution… joanne burns

...the poetry is firmly anchored in the recognisably here and now of the material world, craftily exploiting tensions between the natural world and the depredations of short-sighted materialism and consumerism. Cliff Forshaw

Stories of the Feet

We need a book like this once in a while to remind ourselves that poets document contemporary society in a way that social scientists never will. With Stories of the Feet, Les Wicks focuses his rearview mirror on us.  Rob Walker, Cordite

Les is your tour guide to the real Australia, a land of Emus and Kangaroos indeed, also a land of dead bodies covered in sheets, or cold nights thumbing rides along deserted highways… Another fabulous book, from a great poet. Paul Gilbert, Above Ground Testing (Can)

Wicks’ penetrating gaze does indeed illuminate his Australian landscape; it is a gaze that makes the reader realise just how much is missed in the rush and bustle of everyday living. Glenda Guest, Artlook

This is a compact collection of narrative poems which covers an immeasurable distance in places and human nature.  Ray Carmichael, Studio

…use of the Australian landscape in different ways means that Wicks celebrates the Australian landscape without being a landscape poet. Wicks moves nimbly through difference in style, from the linguistically simple to the complex, with the same ease that he shifts from the creation of settings to the use of identified locations to explore the nature of the different characters who inhabit his poems. Helen Young, Philament

…full of humour and dignity in the face of sheer survival. jeltje, Five Bells

inclusive Oliver Dennis, Island

An honest and insightful attempt to see beyond subterfuge… Ralph Wessman, Famous Reporter

Appetites of Light  

Wicks lights the desires, ideas, acceptance & epiphanies of his everyday Australian protagonists in a… rich, impressionistic, resonant way. Christine Ferrari

…a fresh, strong, humanistic voice… Patricia Prime, Stylus

The Ways of Waves

...summer through a sharply focused lens, a sudden wit and quick shifts of tone and mood. ...he is chameleon, restless, full of questions, refusing to be pinned down. Happily moving here & there, amused, bemused, shaking his head in disbelief, belief, in love with it all.    Brook Emery

…a ‘passing show’ commentary on our beach culture…Helen Horton, Imago

encapsulates Australian beach culture….poems so bright you need Ray Bans. Smell the briny & the blockout; feel the salt in your hair, the sand in your socks… Mark O’Flynn, Famous Reporter

…this is very clever poetry…Gloria B Yates, Social Alternatives

Nitty Gritty

speaks out of the agora, not just from the top of Mt Parnassus Joanne Burns

varied, nimble, humane, wry & well timed  Jennifer Maiden

wit & sparkle, the clever playfulness....warmth & compassion  Tim Thorne FR

The portraits & voices of office workers, school boys & weary parents are hard & accurate. Carolyn Tetaz  Cordite

Wizard of Wastelands Bev Braune ABR

....assembles an amazing cast of people in recognisable often dark places. With fine detail, their domestic & working lives are brilliantly portrayed. Anthony Lawrence


In Australia, dramatic narratives, in a variety of styles, still have a vitality that at least matches, perhaps outshines what other English poetries can show…[“Two Ghosts…”] with its oral manner, builds up an eerie tension… Christopher Pollnitz , Ulitarra

atmospheres of ratbaggery Sydney Morning Herald

grittiness  the Age

personal & engaging, accessible & immediate Warwick Wynne, Australian Book Review

irony comes alive  Pamela Brown

poetry in 3d leaving ‘grit under our fingernails.‘ Danny Gardner

Les' poetry has the romantic sneer of experience entrenched.... duck ponds & screaming traffic Grant Caldwell

marvellous humour, deft satire & the comfort of remembering  Silvana Gardner, Imago

reveals contemporary issues with a biting irony  Bruce Copping, Newcastle Herald

What was it like to live now? Read Wicks, Brown, Bolton, Henry, Caldwell, Beach, Lysenko. Kevin Brophy

Broad satire & comedy…good sleazy fun  Rae Desmond Jones

a harder voice Tom Thompson, National Times

…induces a love/hate suspension about the city        Inprint

…good poetry… pifmagazine (US)



One of the great Australian performance poets Steve Smart


Readings/presentations/performance of works go into the many hundreds but include: several Sydney Festivals, several Sydney Writers’ Festivals including 2013, 2011 to date member Harbour City Poets. Tasmanian Poetry Festival, Qld Poetry Festival, Overload, Art Gallery NSW, Harold Park Hotel, Kinselas, Sydney/Macquarie/Charles Sturt Unis, Martin Place, Long Bay Gaol, Montsalvat, Parliament House (NSW), National Poetry Centre (London), NSW Writers’ Centre, Byron Writers Festival, State Library NSW Literary Weekend, CBC (Can), Colombia Television, (Can), Radio National, 2BL, 2NC, 2UE, 2GB, 2JJJ, 2RES, 2SER, Writers' Radio, Dan O’Connell, Australian Made Poetry, Regional ABC (Riverina, Nth Coast & Broken Hill),  Australian Poetry Festival, Castlemaine State Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival, Noosa Long Weekend, Shoalhaven Poetry Festival, Contemporary Australian Fiction Festival, Broken Hill Poetry Festival.


Tours:-             2023 - International Poetry Festival “Rhyming Nature” (e), Festival International de la Poesie (Ca), Poetry Gala Int Mid Autumn Festival (e) CN

-          2022 5000 km Aus book tour, Genoa Int Poe Fest, Chengdu Int Poe Week (e), Int Fest of Poe & Liquor (e) 

-          2021 International Festival of Poetry and Liquor (e), Vessels of Love, Chengdu International Poetry Week (e), International Festival of Poetry & Liquor (e), Kerala Literature Festival (e)

-          2020 14 Festival Mundial de Poesia de Venezuela (e) ,Festival International de Poesia de Medellin (e), GeneSiir festival (e),  La Voce dei Poeti (e), Pinecone BigO (e).

                        -   2019 Newcastle Canberra Melbourne Perth & Chengdu Int Poetry Week

                        -   2018 Kerala Literature Festival, Chair Poetry Evenings Kolkata  

                        -   2016 Vilenica Int Lit Fest, Kosovo Int. Poe. Fest., Bellingen R&W Fest.

                        -   2015 Festival de Poesia de Nicaragua & Istanbul International Poetry Festival

                        -   2014 World Poetry Festival Delhi, Austin International Poetry Festival,

                            Beyond Baroque (LA) & Struga Poetry Evenings.        

                        -   2013 International Poetry Festival Medellin    

                        -   2011 International Literary Festival, Lviv, Ukraine, Noosa Long Weekend

                        -   2009 12000km book programme Adelaïde, Perth, Newcastle, West NSW & Melbourne

                        -    Festival International de la Poesie 2006 Quebec

                        -    South Coast WC workshopping project 2005

                        -    Book tour – Melb., Wagga, Tumbarumba, Broken Hill 2004

                        -    Litlink Tour - SW & Central West NSW 2000

                        -    Poets on Wheels  - Nth NSW 2000

Writer in Residence:    -     KSP Established WIR, FAWWA Established W-I-R, Tasmania Writers’ Centre, Broken Hill, Booranga Writers Centre. Commitment: professionalism, treat the audience with respect. Commitment: professionalism, treat the audience with respect.


                                                    TUITION \ WORKSHOPS


The Plan to be Published & Intense templates would rate amongst the best known poetry workshops in Australia.


Previous host venues include State Library NSW, Dover Heights TAFE, Sydney Festival, Long Bay Gaol, schools, NSW Writers' Centre, Booranga Writers Centre, CSU – Bathurst & Wagga, ECU, SCU, Nth RiversWC, Broken Hill Regional WC, Tas WC, SCWC, SAWC, Words out West, FAWWA, Australian Poetry, NWF & KSP.


Offers workshops featuring a no frills, practical guide to getting published in the context of a supportive group environment. This template has worked most effectively. Workshops are usually followed up by an issue of Australian Poetry Collaboration This publicises both the host & the writers participating.




Includes: Guide to Sydney Crime, To End All Wars, Rovers series, Guide to Sydney Rivers, Ambassador 1 over the 8th (Ind), AU/UA: Contemporary Poetry of Ukraine and Australia (Krok, 2011 UA), From this Broken Hill (Meuse, 2010), Guide to Sydney Beaches (Meuse, 2009). 2000 -2008 co-organiser Poets on Wheels. 2002 Heritage Light including publishing a poem on the surface of a river. 1998-2003 Written in Sand Project. 1999-2000 Hobo. 1993-2016 director of Island Press. 1992-1999 Artransit Project. 1985 Musicians Union Band Guide. 1984-1997 to Sen Industrial Officer Musicians Union & MEAA. 1990-93 Sec. NSWALP Communications & Leisure Policy Committee. 1977-1981 Meuse Magazine, supplements & anthologies. Part of Poets Union (NSW) original steering committee, Jnt Sec./Treas. (1979-80), Fed Secretary 1983.




Won or judged numerous prizes in Australia & elsewhere.




1 over the 8th (In), &, Above Ground Testing (Ca), Absinthe Literary Review (US), Access, Afternoon (US), the Age, Alcubi Journal (US), All Souls Poetry (CN), Animist, Antipodean SF, Antipodes (US), Arena (Vic), Arena (Mac. Uni), Argotist, Ars Poetica, Artlook, Artransit, Artshub, Artsrush, Ascent (Ca), Australian, Australian Latino Press, Australian Poetry Journal, Australian Reader, Australian Schools English Competition, The Australian’s Review of Books, Australia Times, Avant Garde Times (Can), Axon, Backstory, Backstory of the poem (US), Bardflies, Bareknuckle, Barnwood (US), Benzine (US), Between These Shores (UK), Big Bang, Big Bridge (US), Blast, Blowback, Blue Bottle,  Blue & Yellow Dog (US), Blue Dog, Blue Giraffe, Blue Nib, Blue Pencil (US), Blue Pepper, Bonfire (UK), Broadkill Review (US), Bukker Tillibul, Bumf, Burrow, Canberra Times, Canto Planetario (MX), Catalyst (NZ), Centoria, Cha (HKSAR), Chaos Theory (US), Chengdu International Poetry Week, Cherry Bleeds (US), China Business Daily (CN), Circulo de Poesia (MX), Compass, Coffee Connection (UK), Colours (US), Communion (AU), Communion (US), Concelebratory Shoehorn Review (US), Conspire (US), Contemporary Literary Review (IN), Contrapasso, Coppertales, Cordite, Cottonmouth, Crack the Spine (US), Crannog (IE), Crosslines, Crux, Divan, Dot Dot Dash, Eclecticism, Ecopoetics (US), Elixir (YE), Elves, Enchanting Verses (IN), Embody (US), Essential Poetry, Eureka St, Eye Socket Journal (US), Eye to the Telescope 2 (US), Famous Reporter, Fekt (MK), Feministanbul (TR), (CO), Festival Internacional de Poesia de la Habana (CU), $5 Freedom, Fifth International Fest of Poetry & Liquor (CN), Five Bells, Five Fleas (US),  foam:e, Forgetting is so Long, Four W,  Free Xpression, Fulcrum (US), Full of Crow (US), Funny Poets, Gangway(AT), Gargouille, Gen Siir Festivali (TR), Going Down Swinging, Gold Dust (UK), Grapple, Gravity (US), Great Works (UK), Grepoetry (US), Grey Sparrow (US), Gutter (UK), Hatbox, Heartland, Heritage Light, Hermes, Hobo,  Holland 1945, Homebrew, Hotchpotch, Idiom 23, Image, Imago, the Implosion (US), Indigo Rising (UK), Inklings, Inprint, Inquirer (PH), InsomAniac, Int Fest of Poetry & Liquor (CN), Int Human Rights Arts Festival (US),  Island,  Ixion (UK), Jacaranda, Jack (US), Jacket, Juked (US), Kangaroo, Ken*again (US), Kerala literary festival, Killing the Angel (US), Kurungabaa, La Voce dei Poeti (IT), Landscapes, Leaves, Les Reves des Notre Ours (US), Linq, Lite Lit 1, live Encounters (ID), Locus Non Consequensia, loop (US), Lifted Brow, Lip service Journal (US), Liquid Imagination (US), Lite Lit One, Live Encounters (ID), Livrespico del Arte (US), Lone Star Magazine (US), Lost &Found Quarterly (US), Lothlorien (UK),  m.a.g. (US), Makar, Make Your Mark, Mandible (US), Mannequin House (US), Manseerah (UE), Mary, Mascara, Mattoid,  Meanjin, Meatloaf (US), Meniscus, Meuse, Melaleuca, Melic Review (US), Meniscus, Micropress Yates, Midwest Coast Review (US), Misfits Miscellany (US), Moria (US), Moveable Type, Narrator, Nepean Review, New England Review, Newcastle Herald, Newswrite, Nod (CA), Northern Perspectives, nthposition (UK), Numbat, Offset, (UA), Other Terrain, Otoliths, Over the Bridge, Overland, Overlandexpress, Oxygen, OZpoet, P76, Page 17,  Panic Attack (CA), Pash Capsule, Passing Show, Peepshow (UK), Peoples Daily (CN), Periodica El Sol (CO), Perspective (US), Petrichor Review (US), Picton Grange ¼ Review, Pifmagazine (US),  Perfect Diary, Petrichor Review (US), Pixel Papers, Plumwood Mountain, Poem & Dish, Poem Box (US), Poem Niederngasse (CH), Poemes pour la Paix (FR), Poesia, Poetas Siglo (ES), Poetry at Sangam (IN), Poetry Book Club of Australia, Poetry Downunder, Poetryespresso, (US), Poetry Matters, Poetry Monash, Poetry Pacific (CA), Poetry Salzburg (AT), Poetry Sydney, Polestar, Politics & Prose in DC (US), Pool, Positive Words, Post Colonial Text (FR), Predator of the Marvellous, Pressed, Pretty Owl (US), Private (It), Prospect,  psychic meatloaf (US), Quadrant, Queen Anne’s Revenge (US), Quill & Ink (Ind),  Real 8 View (US), Reality X (US), Red Room, Redoubt, Regime, Remixt (US), Retreats From Oblivion (US), Revue Brèves Littéraire (CA), Right Hand Pointing (US), Right Now, Rip Rap (US),  Ripples, Riverrun, Road of Shadows (US), Rochford Review, Rust & Moth (US), Salt Lick Quarterly, Scarp, SCOPP, Shades & Reflections (US), Shampoo (US), Short & Twisted, Sidewalk, Siirden (SK), Silenced Press (US), Six Seasons Review (BD), Sketch, Slipstream (US), Small Packages, Smorgasbord (US), Snorkel (NZ), Social Alternatives, Softblow (SG), Something Else, Southerly,  Southern Ocean Review (NZ), Spindrift, Springfield Gazette, Squidink, Stand (UK ), Stone Path Review (US), Stylus, Sugar Mule (US), Survision (IE), Swyntax, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Mosaic, Takahe (NZ), Tam Tam (IT), Tamba, Tarot (NZ), Tears in the Fence (UK), Text, Tharunka, The Disappearing, The Last Real Poetry, The Mozzie, The Stone Hobo (US), The Tablet, The Write Angle, Theory of Everything, Thirst, Thunkbook (TW), Thylazine, Tincture, Tinfish (US), Toasted Cheese (US), Tweed, Typehouse (US), Uluslararasi (TR), Unfurl, Union Recorder, Unusual Work, Vehicle, VTV (VE), Vernacular, verb-ate-him, Verbal Art (IN), Verge, Verity La, Verse Land, Verso, Verge, Voice (US), Vsesvit Review of World Literature(UA), Wandering Dog (UK), Westerly, Whistling Shade (US), Wild(US), Windmills, Winning Writers (US), Wonder Book, Woorilla, Word is Out, Word Salad (US), World Poetry (CN), World Poetry Tree (UAE), Writ, Write Angle, Written in Sand, Your Friendly Fascist, yuryzavadsky (UA).


Anthologies:  A Poet’s Journey into Spin, A Poetry in S Dreaming (IT), All From the Hand that Hesitates for a Long Time Before It Disappears (DE), Anthology of the Illawarra, Antipodes, Ashbery Mode, Between These Shores (UK), Beyond Borders (In), Contemporary Australian Poetry, Australian Love Poems, Australian Poetry Anthology, Australian Poets for Peace, AU/UA Contemporary Poetry of Ukraine & Australia (UA & AU), Best Asian Poetry, Best Australian Poems, Billabong (PL), Can I tell you a Secret?, Cao Tang (CN), Canto Planetariio (MX), Capitals (IN), Caring for Country, Chair Poetry Series,  Close to Home, Coming Out of Isolation (KE), Contemporary Tangential Surrealist Poetry (IE), Covidioms (IE), Dan Anthology 2017, Desde Hong Kong, Earth Against Heaven , Embody, Encounter (PL),  Extraterrestrial Life (RO), Falling Angels,  Feministabul Anthology (TR), First Australian Haiku Anthology, Foliate Oak (US), Freshwater, from this Broken Hill, Genc Siir Festivali (TR), Golden Wings (IN), Great American Poetry Show Vol2 (US), Guide to Sydney Beaches, Guide to Sydney Crime, Guide to Sydney Rivers, Hidden Hands, I Can’t Breathe (KE), Il Respiro dell'Arte (IT), In Your Hands, La Voce dei Poeti (IT),Light on Don Bank, Love in the Time of Covid (NZ), Lviv International Literature Festival Almanac (UA), Madness (NP), Manseerah (AE), Messages from the Embers, Metabolism, Mood Lightning,  Moving Out Moving On, Musings During a Time of Pandemic (KE), Notes for Translators (CH), Ocarina Anthology (IN), One Minute To Midnight, Open Boat - Barbed Wire, Other Voices International Project (US), Notes for the Translator, Poemes Pour la Paix (FR),Poems in Perspex, Poetry & Place, Poetry from 5 Continents (MK), Poetry in Multicultural Oceania (NZ), Poetry in Resistance (CO), Poetry in S Dreaming (IT), Poets Choice (several years), Poets in the  Forest,  Presence – Live Poets 30 years at Don Bank., Revista de Poesia Prometeo (CO), Rhyming Nature (IN), Sand in our Souls – the Beach in Australian Culture & History, Semaphore Dancing (PITP, 2009), Singing in the Dark (IN), Social Images 1891-1991,Spirit of Self Expression, Sunlines,  Ten Years Live, Teratoid, The Argument from Desire, The Attitude of Cups, The Greenhouse, The Selected Your Friendly Fascist, The Stars Like Sand, Thylazine, To End All Wars , Tree Stone Sky Stream (CN), Turnstiles Review (US), 25 Australian Poets (Ca), UN Dialogue Among Civilisations Through Poetry, Unexpected Visitor, Universal Oneness (IN), Vessels of Love, Vilenica Almanac (SI), Version (RU), War & Peace, Wombats of Bundanon – 20 Australian Poets (CN), Work by Australian Poets, World English Poetry (BD),  World Poetry (CN), World Poetry Tree (AE), Writing Parramatta, Writing the Pacific (FJ), Writing to the Wire.



Last update November 2023


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