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Over 15 years of poetry West Word poetry

at the Dancing Dog cafe

since 2003

A Melbourne poetry event that's been running for over a decade – West Word poetry holds regular events at the Dancing Dog Cafe to host various poets from around the country.


Along with a different feature poet at each session, there is an open stage section, which is open to anyone of any style: emerging, established, multilingual, slam, lyrical, experimental… (within a 5 minute time limit.) Just show at the venue, put your name on the list, and read to a receptive encouraging audience.


Whether you want to read, or just listen – all are welcome.


The poetry sessions are located in the Gallery room of the Dancing Dog café, there are plenty of chairs and tables to feel comfortable, food and drinks available at the bar can be brought into this room, and there’s a new art exhibition up on the walls every few months. The Dancing Dog café is just five minutes’ walk from Footscray station, and Footscray station is only three stops away from Melbourne city-central, with several different train lines that can be caught. There is street parking in Footscray, just make sure you check for signage.


There is no entry fee for West Word poetry sessions, but appreciation of the feature poet can be shown by entering our book raffle, or donating what you will. All proceeds go to the feature poet on the day, and, you could win some amazing new, or second-hand books from our selection, of which you get to choose!


Each session of West Word poetry is different. There is an emphasis on poems that haven’t been heard before, spontaneity, authenticity and inclusiveness. Old favourite poems are welcome as well should they have strong meaning to the reader that a reader wishes to share with the audience.


West Word poetry sessions happen every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month (except for late December and January.) The gig starts at 2pm and runs to around 5pm.


The convenor, Initially NO, is a diploma carrying writer and editor, who has published a good shelf of books and is Artist in Residence at a Gallery nearby. Initially NO has been convening West Word poetry since 2012, and is local to the area.


Many poets are moving over to the Footscray area, as it has a large innovative, friendly, artistic, multicultural community that is growing bigger each year. West Word poetry has long been part of that. If you’ve never been to West Word poetry, or haven’t been for a while, please come along to listen and bring some poems to read on the open stage.



Out West

 by Lesley Gale


Out in the west

Not far from Footscray Station

An ancient building


Once it soothed aches and pains

Now soothes


its whispers to this clan

Of dedicated poets

The devotees of Westword

‘come in . . . sanctuary awaits inside’


Every second Sunday


The smell of coffee

And the hum of hushed voices

They gather

Reciting their tales

Bellowing their

Heart-wrenching songs

Their melodies ripe with passion

With comment of Social unrest, death

and destruction

of the heart ache and the emptiness

when a love dies

Of lingering joy and rapture

that holds

Two souls together


This clan

Of the melancholy

The mighty and the magnificent

May disperse separately at night’s end

But always, they leave

With one thought in mind

in two weeks’ time

We will gather again

At the Dancing Dog Cafe

And continue to soothe our souls






West Word Poetry is asking for a FUME REDUCTION POLICY in our poetry space.


This does not extend to the bar or any other space in the Dancing Dog Cafe, nor is it the cafe policy, it is simply for the poetry event, simply understanding a complex social environmental issue, human rights issue and doing something proactive about it, because poets are forward thinking, and sensitive to the needs of people who are vulnerable/ being harmed. For people to not use perfumes & colognes, or heavy use of spray deodorants. While the space has an open door, it can get congested and cause suffering to those who have had over-exposure to these substances, or conditions like cancer. 38% of the population suffer from the extensive use of petroleum-based substances that are brought in by personal scent products. Substances such are propylene glycol, in these products are carcinogenic, harm asthmatics and people with sensitivities/ allergies, and do need to be banned, however bureaucracy can take a while.


More details about toxic fumes in closed spaces from perfumes/ deodorants here: