• Oxford University Poetry Society

    The Oxford University Poetry Society aims to be the centre of poetic life within the University of Oxford. Established in 1946, OUPS is one of the oldest and most active student poetry societies in the UK, making Oxford a wonderful place for aspiring poets and poetry lovers.
    2017-18 is a big year for us. In previous years we have welcomed the likes of Sarah Howe, Don Paterson, Bernard O'Donoghue, Michael Longley, Alice Oswald, Andrew McMillan, Jack Underwood, Kei Miller and Vahni Capildeo, and the coming three terms are looking to be just as exciting (see our termcard for Michelmas below). We have workshops and reading groups, socials and group trips, poetry readings and open-mics, competitions, and collaborations with other societies in Oxford. We hope you'll be involved - we're very welcoming, so come along to as many events as you can!
    Make sure you sign up to our mailing list, and contact us if you have any questions; our email addresses are all below.

  • Trinity Termcard

    Worldmakers: Emily Hasler, Sarah Corbett, Alice Miller

    This term we are unbelievably lucky to be hosting 3 marvellous poets, with new books published by Pavilion Poetry (Liverpool University Press).


    'The poems in Emily Hasler’s debut collection, The Built Environment, probe at the ways we understand and reconstruct our environment, asking how our world is made, and how it makes us, by examining places, objects, buildings, landscapes, rivers and bridges. Sarah Corbett’s fifth collection, A Perfect Mirror, asks us to examine our actions in an unsettling world, drawing on contemporary events, the landscape of West Yorkshire and the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth. Berlin-based New Zealand poet Alice Miller’s second collection Nowhere Nearer looks at how we forge our worlds from the stories of the dead, the illusion of progress, and “the futures we never let happen.”'


    The reading will take place in the Wadham Room at the King's Arms on the 23rd May, starting at 6pm.


    Click here for more information about the tour, poets and books: https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/collections/series-pavilion-poetry/by-author-emily-hasler

    What We Should Have Said

    After the immense success of last term's event, we are delighted to be hosting Stuart Silver and another round of poets and musicians for the jazz/poetry mashup night, What We Should Have Said.


    'What We Should Have Said' is a unique touring performance event putting interconnected poetry to music. It was a huge success in Oxford last term, and so they're back! Actor and performance artist Stuart Silver (known to many of you from The Double, The Mighty Boosh, and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) will this time be joined by poets Samantha Wynne Rhydderch, Ella Frears, Tiffany Atkinson, and Richard Douglas Pennant, accompanied by keyboard. Not to be missed.

    **Please note: the T.S. Eliot Theatre is at the far end of Merton, so do allow plenty of time to get there (the venue is on the ground floor, but there are a couple of steps up and down on the way from the lodge). If you are unsure of the way, please be at the Merton lodge (situated on Merton Street) no later than 8:25pm, and a committee member will escort you to the theatre.


    Wednesday 30th May, T. S. Eliot Theatre, Merton College

    Hera Lindsay Bird and Stephanie Burt

    Award-winning poets Hera Lindsay Bird and Stephanie Burt will be hosted by Keble this term, as part of their Meet the Poets series.


    Hera Lindsay Bird's latest pamphlet, Pamper Me To Hell And Back, was selected in 2018 by Carol Ann Duffy as part of the Laureate's Choice Collection, and her debut collection, Hera Lindsay Bird, was published in 2017 by Penguin.


    Stephanie (also Steph; formerly Stephen) Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. In 2012, the New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of [her] generation.” Burt grew up around Washington, DC and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. She has published four collections of poems: Advice from the Lights (2017), Belmont (2013), Parallel Play (2006), and Popular Music (1999).


    Tuesday, Week 4, 6:30pm, Pusey Room, Keble College.

    Maureen McLane


    Award-winning poet Maureen McLane will be reading in Teddy Hall this term, as part of their new 'Meet the Poet Reading Series'.


    Maureen N. McLane grew up in upstate New York and was educated at Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago. She is the author of five books of poetry: Some Say (FSG, 2017), Mz N: the serial: a poem-in-episodes (FSG, 2016), This Blue (FSG, 2014—Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry), World Enough (FSG, 2010), and Same Life(FSG, 2008), as well as the poetry chapbook, This Carrying Life (Pressed Wafer/Arrowsmith, 2006). Her book My Poets (FSG, 2012)—an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism—was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography.


    Thursday, Week 7, 6:45pm, Old Dining Hall, St. Edmund's College



    Working on some poems? In need of some friendly advice? Oxford Poetry Society is hosting a relaxed workshop and feedback session. Bring your poetry! Send Phoebe your poems on phoebe.stuckes@gmail.com before noon on the 16th, or just come along and get some writing inspiration.


    Platnauer Room, Brasenose College, 16th May 6-7pm

    Open Mic Night

    Our termly Open-Mic Night in collaboration with Oxford Writers House - Monday 28th May (6th week)

    Ash Trinity

    Thank you for your submissions to Ash Trinity! The launch will be Friday of 7th Week (time and venue TBC).



    Professor of Poetry Lecture

    This term Simon Armitage will be delivering his termly lecture during his tenure as Oxford Professor of Poetry, on "Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres." 


    Week 4, Wednesday, 5:30pm, Examination Schools

    The Martin Starkie Prize 2018

    Oxford University Poetry Society's annual poetry competition, The Martin Starkie Prize, is now open for submissions.


    Please send your poetry (in .pdf format), no longer than 100 LINES, to dominic.leonard@chch.ox.ac.uk. They must be predominantly in English, and must be your original, previously unpublished work (translations will be considered but must have permission from the author of the original). Submissions will be accepted ONLY from current students at Oxford University (undergraduate and postgraduate students included - please send your poem from your Oxford email address with a short bio).


    Unfortunately we cannot accept submissions from current members of the OUPS committee.


    The poems will be judged by SANDEEP PARMAR, and will be considered for both prizes:


    -Martin Starkie Prize for Best poem

    -Dart Prize for Most Formally Innovative Poem


    There is no entry fee and cash prizes for both, and the winning poems will be published in OUPS's termly magazine, Ash, at the start of the next academic year (i.e. Ash Michelmas 2018). Exact cash prize to be announced soon.


    The deadline for submissions is TUESDAY OF 3RD WEEK, 8TH MAY. The shortlist will be announced shortly thereafter, and the shortlisted poets will be invited to a reading where the winner will be announced.


    Important note: f you have submitted a poem for the prize, please do not submit it elsewhere (journals/magazines etc) - if you have it accepted to be published elsewhere, we cannot award the prize.


    Good luck!


  • A Brief History of Oxford Poetry

    It’s difficult to walk around Oxford without thinking about all the iconic writers who once walked its streets as students: John Donne and Philip Sidney, Shelley and Oscar Wilde, Hopkins and Arnold, Betjeman and Larkin, Auden and Eliot, Graves and Wendy Cope, and, more recently, Alice Oswald and Michael Symmons Roberts. Oxford has always inspired poetry and pushed poetry forward, and OUPS hopes to be a space in which the same can happen today.
    OUPS itself has a long history, dating back to 1946, when it was founded by Martin Starkie. Its past presidents have included Caroline Bird and Vidyan Ravinthiran. We have a long tradition of hosting acclaimed writers, such as Ted Hughes, Dylan Thomas and, more recently, Paul Muldoon, Daljit Nagra, Alice Oswald, Andrew Motion and many others. Another Oxford tradition going back to 1708 is the Professorship of Poetry, currently held by Simon Armitage. In the past it has included WH Auden, Robert Graves, Matthew Arnold, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. There are many practising poets teaching at Oxford University, too, such as Bernard O Donoghue, Peter McDonald, Jane Griffiths and Jane Draycott.

  • Committee (2017-2018)

    Dominic Leonard, President

    Hello friends - I'm a third-year English student at Christ Church. I've been OUPS's publicity officer and tech editor for the last couple of years, and will be the society's tyrant for 2017-18. I've had poetry & reviews published in Ash (our society's termly publication - see below for more details on that with Molly), Poetry London, Oxford Poetry, The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, Disclaimer and Zarf.


    If you want to get in touch, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram (@d0minic_leonard), or feel free to contact me by email (dominic.leonard@chch.ox.ac.uk).

    Constantine Blintzios, Vice President

    Constantine Blintzios is a graduate of English Literature, Music Composition and Contemporary Art. He is primarily a writer of poetry and short stories with a sharp focus on the lyric and its’ transformative qualities in prose. He has had both poetry and stories published on various online journals such as Visual Verse, The Oxonian Revue and the OMEGA Poetry group. His poem ‘Where I am from’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Martin Starkie awards. He is currently in his second year of an Mst in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. 

    Phoebe Stuckes, Workshop Coordinator

    Phoebe Stuckes is a poet from Somerset. She has been a winner of the Foyle Young Poets award four times and is a Barbican Young Poet. She has performed at the Southbank Centre, Wenlock Poetry Festival and the Poetry Cafe, and was the Ledbury Festival young poet in residence in 2015. Her poetry has been published in The Missing Slate, Rising, The Morning Star and Ambit among others. Her debut pamphlet, Gin & Tonic, is now available to order from Smith/Doorstop books.


    Stephanie Kelley, Masterclasses Coordinator

    Stephanie Kelley is a writer and graduate student living in Oxford. When not studying for a MSt Literature 1830-1914 at Balliol College, she works as the Digital Intern for the Times Literary Supplement.

    Robert Jackson, Secretary

    I'm a third year undergraduate studying English at Corpus Christi College. Outside of being the guy who sends the weekly emails, I have had my poems published by The Kindling, Notes Oxford, and Oxford Writers' House, and currently act as Curator to the arts blog Seven Voices. Some favourite poets of mine include Emily Berry, Frank O'Hara and Eileen Myles.


    If you have any questions about things the Society is putting on, I'm happy to be contacted at robert.jackson@ccc.ox.ac.uk.

    Mary Anne Clark, Ash Editor

    Hello, I'm Mary Anne (or Molly for short), and I will be editing our termly OUPS publication, Ash - look out for submission calls as soon as term starts. I've just graduated in English from Merton College, and this year I'm back to do a Masters in literature of the period 1550-1700; at the moment I'm particularly interested in how hymns relate to their poetic context, so if anyone has thoughts on that subject I'd always love to hear them! My poems have appeared in Ash, The Mays, The Kindling, Oxford Poetry, IRIS III, and several Emma Press anthologies, and I have read at events including National Poetry Day Live at the Southbank and the Ledbury Festival. I was the winner of the 2016 Newdigate Prize.
  • Donors

    Supporting Oxford University Poetry Society

    Oxford University Poetry Society keeps going off the back of the generosity of those who want to see us thrive. Those who donate on our GoFundMe are listed below as thanks; you can donate too, here: https://www.gofundme.com/oxforduniversitypoetrysociety
    Mary-Lucille Hindmarch
    Kate Paul
    Sandy Fraser
    Laura Lamont
    Lorraine Fraser-Leonard
    Andy Leonard
    Vahni Capildeo
    Jeremy Noel-Tod
    Rishi Dastidar
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