• 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.


    2018-2019 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 - our term card will be coming soon! 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.

  • ASH

    ASH Michaelmas 2018 is available to order to Oxford college addresses now.

  • Hilary Termcard

    Sign up to our mailing list for further additions!

    Andre Naffis-Sahely - Contemporary Reader's Group

    Monday 21st January (2nd Week), 7pm, Seminar Room East, Mansfield College

    André Naffis-Sahely will be joining us for another contemporary readers group, where we will be discussing his poems, and the poems of others, on the theme 'Mapping Home: A Lowellian Architecture for Abu Dhabi' . The group will be a relaxed and informal chance to discuss and get excited about contemporary poetry.


    Naffis-Sahely is the author of The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin UK, 2017). His poem, 'Postcard from the Cape' was selected for The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. He is currently a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Met's Writing School and is the poetry editor of Ambit magazine. He is from Abu Dhabi, but was born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother. His translations include over twenty titles of fiction, poetry and nonfiction from French and Italian, featuring works by Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Rashid Boudjedra, Abdellatif Laâbi and Alessandro Spina. Several of these translations have been featured as 'books of the year' in The Guardian, Financial Times and NPR.

    Luke Allan - Poetry and Publishing

    Thursday 24th January (2nd Week), 6pm, Christ Church College, Lecture Room 1 (Upstairs in Staircase 8, Tom Quad)

    We are delighted to announce that distinguished poet and editor Luke Allan will be reading from his works and speaking to us about his experiences in the world of poetry publishing. He is an editor of Partus, Quait and Pain, Director of sine wave peak, and formerly an editor of Carcanet and PN Review.

    Open Mic in Collaboration with OWH

    Monday 28th January (3rd Week), 7.30pm, Common Ground Workspace

    We're back at it again with another Open Mic, once again in partnership with Oxford Writer's House and The Poetry Centre at Oxford Brookes.

    Don't miss out on your chance to read and enjoy poetry by Oxford's best at Common Ground, 37-38 Little Clarendon St, Oxford, OX1 2HU.

    All attendees will have an opportunity to read and showcase their work; to do so email events@oxfordwritershouse.com and we'll get you on the list.

    We are asking for a suggested donation of £3 for this event.

    Shara Lessley & James Arthur Workshop​

    Wednesday 13th February (5th Week), 7pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Christ Church College

    We are very lucky to have Shara and James, two poets with enormous amounts of experience, running a writing workshop for us this term. Stuck for ideas? Can't pin the words onto the page? Come along and get writing! There will also be a short reading.


    Shara Lessley is the author of two books of poetry, The Explosive Expert’s Wife and Two-Headed Nightingale, and coeditor of The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice, an anthology of essays. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Colgate University’s O’Connor Fellowship, and a “Discovery”/The Nation prize, among others. Shara’s poetry has appeared in Kenyon Review,Blackbird, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Missouri Review, Threepenny, AGNI, and 32 Poems, among others. The inaugural Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College, she currently serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Acre Books and lives in Oxford, England.


    Canadian-American poet James Arthur is the author of The Suicide’s Son (Véhicule Press 2019) and Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press, 2012.) His poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The London Review of Books. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland. Arthur lives in Baltimore, where he teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. During 2019 he is a Visiting Fellow at Exeter College, University of Oxford.

    Ella Frears - Reading

    Monday 18th February (6th Week), 7pm - Location: King's Arms Wadham Room

    Ella Frears will be joining us for a reading of her mesmerising poetry - some of you may remember her from last year's What We Should Have Said. Frears is a poet, visual artist and curator living and working in south-east London. She has had poetry published in various publications including Poetry London, Ambit, The Rialto, Poetry Daily, POEM, and the Moth among others. Her debut pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity is out with Goldsmiths Press (available via Burley Fisher Books). Ella was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize 2017.


    Ella is a trustee and editor for Magma Poetry. In April 2017, Ella curated an eight-day exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery: RESISTANCE - A Short Guide to Self-Improvement as part of their Palace of Culture season which, alongside works commissioned from female filmmakers and poets, included a programme of live events, readings, workshops and talks.


    She performs regularly across London and in 2017 had a collaborative installation with artist Ben Sanderson, The Six Pillars of Modernism, was on show at Tate St.Ives, Oct 2017 - July 2018. She is currently one of four poets shortlisted for an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2019.

    Worcester Poetry Evening

    Thursday 21st February (6th Week), Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, 5pm.

    Featuring Sarah Howe, Emily Critchley, Ian Patterson, Stephen Romer, Peter Hughes, and Hannah Sullivan (this year's TS Eliot Prize Winner!), this is a not-to-be-missed showcase of some incredible poets. Each poet will be doing a 10 minute reading, so this event will be great for both poetry enthusiasts, and those looking to try something new.


    Hannah Sullivan’s Three Poems was published in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim and won the 2019 TS Eliot Prize, becoming only the third debut winner in the award’s 26-year history.


    Ian Patterson’s extraordinary work has been at the vanguard of British poetry since the late 1960s. His elegy “The Plenty of Nothing” won the Forward Prize for Best Single poem in 2017.


    Stephen Romer has published four original collections, a Selected Poems, and translations of French poetry. His work is internationally recognized and he is the RLF Writing Fellow at Worcester College.


    Emily Critchley’s award-winning work has been published by many of the UK’s leading innovative presses and is widely regarded as among the most vibrant and original being written today.


    Peter Hughes’s versions of Petrarch, Cavalcanti and Leopardi have attracted serious praise from poets and critics alike. His Selected Poems was published in 2013. He also runs Oystercatcher Press.


    Sarah Howe’s debut Loop of Jade won the TS Eliot Prize and Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and was shortlisted for several other major awards. She is the founding editor of Prac Crit.


    Drinks provided afterwards.

    ASH Launch

    Wednesday 6th March, (8th Week), Wadham Room King's Arms, 7.30pm

    The much anticipated launch of this term's edition of ASH. Come on down for discounted copies and to hear poems from the magazine.

    Feminism and Fizz w/ MCPS

    Thursday 7th March (8th Week), 8-10pm, Merton College JCR

    Join us for a curated evening of female student poetry, accompanied by unlimited(ish) Prosecco. Featuring Julianna Barker, Mary Ann Clarke, Maya Little, Phoebe Stuckes and many more, plus the opporunity for any women* poets to take part in an open mic!


    * we use women to include anyone whose gender identity includes woman.

  • 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 (2018-2019)


    Maya Little, President

    Hello, I’m Maya (a second year English student at Mansfield College). I’m hoping to be able to bring as many people into contact with poetry as possible this year, or at the very least, to spend the whole year talking about poetry. I’m a poet and occasional theatre director, and I’ve had my work published in Ash (OUPS’ very own publication), RISE, and on The Young Poets Network. I’ve also been shortlisted for the Martin Starkie Prize, commended in Foyle’s Young Poets of the Year, and won the Trinity Gould Essay Prize.


    Please feel free to get in touch about anything poetry related – you can contact me via email (maya.little@mansfield.ox.ac.uk), or on twitter (@oddimaginer)

    Tilly Alexander, Vice President


    I’m a third year English student at Lady Margaret Hall (currently researching my dissertation on Emily Dickinson!). I’ve previously been shortlisted for the Keats-Shelley Young Romantics Prize and the Bridport Prize, highly commended in the T.S. Eliot Shadowing Scheme, and published in Ash. I’m very excited to get much more involved in the Oxford University poetry community this year, and to be able to talk to other poets/anyone interested in poetry!


    Molly Innes, Secretary

    Hello! I’m Molly, a 2nd year English student at Lady Margaret Hall. When I’m not co-running my Nigella Lawson fan account, I am reading and writing poetry; last year I had a poem in the ISIS, and previously came 2nd place in the Ilkley Literature Festival youth poetry competition. I’m excited to spread my love of poetry into your emails every week.


    Alex Matraxia & Samuel Moriarty, Ash Editors


    Ash is OUPS' termly publication. Past editions have seen poets such as Simon Armitage and Vahini Capildeo contribute poems, alongside student submissions.

    Annie Fan, Workshop Coordinator

    Hi! I'm Annie, a fresher at St Hugh's, and a law student; whatever I may lack in years, I'll try to make up with tons of (misguided) enthusiasm! I've been commended twice in Foyle Young Poets of the Year, won Lancaster University's prizes for poetry and fiction, and was a prizewinner twice in Tower Poetry. You can also find my work in Ambit and The Manchester Review, among others, as well as on BBC Radio 3.


    Nicholas Stone, Publishing Officer

    Nicholas Stone is a Classicist at Christ Church. As Publishing Officer he organises events and resources to help poets who want to publish their work. He has had poems in the Spectator, New Statesman, Oldie and the Vates Anthology, and has been kindly appraised in Quadrant. In 2018 he was awarded Proxime Accessit in the Chancellor’s Latin Verse Prize. He is Satire Editor of the Oxford Student. He can be contacted at Nicholas [DOT] Stone [AT] chch.ox.ac.uk



    Natalie Perman - Social Media Manager


    Hi poetry lovers! I’m Natalie, a first-year English and German student at St John’s, and I try to keep everyone updated with our events on social media. I’m an American-English Jewish poet who loves languages and literature. I’ve had the honour of winning the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017, being commended in 2018, and winning the Forward Student Critics’ Competition, as well as being published in magazines (such as in Ash!). You can find some of my work on my page on the Poetry Society website.


    Kate Haselden, Artist and Photographer


    I am a second year studying English Literature at Mansfield College. I have been longlisted for the 2017 Tower Poetry competition and published in Ash and Notes Cambridge. I am photographer for PHASER magazine and illustrator for the creative team at The ISIS, I am so excited to be photographing Poetry Society events and creating illustrations for our events.

  • Social Media

    Stay updated by liking our official Facebook page, emailing us with any questions or concerns, and following us on Twitter and Instagram!

  • 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

    Michael Donkor