• 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.

  • Michaelmas Termcard

    Sign up to our mailing list for further additions!

    Micheal O'Siadhail, Book Launch

    Friday 5th October (1st week) Regent's Park College, 4-5.30pm. Free entry.

    Drinks reception followed by a reading, in collaboration with Regent's Park College.


    Micheal O'Siadhail is an Irish poet whose career spans 40 years and who has represented Ireland internationally on a number of occasions. This event is the launch of his new book, Five Quintets.

    Shivanee Ramlochan, Reading

    Wednesday 10th October (1st week), Wadham College, 6-7pm. Free entry, donations welcome.


    We're incredibly excited to be kicking off the term with a reading by Shivanee Ramlochan.


    Shivanee Ramlochan has been shortlisted for Forward's Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, for the incredibly compelling Everyone Knows I am a Haunting. Vahini Capildeo wrote that her poems are as 'Rich as a García Márquez novel... uncompromising conversations, intimacy wrestling survival.'


    A Trinadadian poet, Ramlochan is also an arts journalist, and is the deputy editor of The Caribbean Review of Books.

    Andrew McMillan: Contemporary Readers' Group

    Tuesday 15th October, 7pm, Seminar Room West, Mansfield College

    Oxford University Poetry Society is running a series of informal discussion groups, open to all, on themes in contemporary poetry. This week, we are delighted to welcome acclaimed poet Andrew McMillan, who will be discussing the place of poetry in the fitness-room, both in his poems and those of others.

    Author of poems such as 'the men are weeping in the gym' and 'things said in the changing room,' McMillan's poetry offers searching explorations of the body, masculinity and sexuality, often poignant and funny in equal measure. Together, we will be thinking about poems which have looked at exercise and the gym. We will also ask: how might poetry formally reflect (or not) the physical exertion it describes?


    What We Should Have Said

    Friday 19th October (2nd Week), 8pm, TS Eliot Theatre, Merton College.

    After the immense success of last year's events, 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 truly unique touring performance event putting interconnected poetry to music.



    Friday 2nd November (4th Week), Mansfield College Seminar Room West, 7-8.30pm



    Working on some poems? In need of some friendly advice? Oxford University Poetry Society is hosting a relaxed workshop and feedback session. Bring your poetry, or just come along and get some writing inspiration.


    Open Mic Night

    Tuesday 30th October (4th Week), 8pm, Common Ground.

    Our termly Open-Mic Night in collaboration with Oxford Writers House and Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre. This term with special guest reading from Joel Carrick-Varty.

    St Edmund's Hall, Meet The Poet: Vahni Capildeo

    Tuesday 6th November (5th Week), Keble College.


    Forward Prize winning Vahni Capildeo will be reading at this term's Meet the Poets.


    Vahni Capildeo’s multilingual, cross-genre writing is grounded in time experienced through place. Her DPhil in Old Norse literature and translation theory, her travels, and her Indian diaspora/Caribbean background deepen the voices in the landscapes that inspire her. Her poetry (six books and four pamphlets) includes Measures of Expatriation, awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2016. She has worked in academia; in culture for development, with Commonwealth Writers; and as an Oxford English Dictionary lexicographer. Capildeo held the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellowship and the Harper-Wood Studentship at Cambridge. She is currently a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds.

    Mark Ford: Contemporary Reader's Group

    Tuesday 13th November (6th Week), 7.30pm, Mansfield College, Seminar Room West.

    Oxford University Poetry Society is running a series of informal discussion groups, open to all, on themes in contemporary poetry.


    ‘Immature poets imitate’, T.S. Eliot famously declared, ‘mature poets steal’. This OUPS event will consider the uses to which poets put other people’s words. Mark Ford, author of the poetry collections Landlocked (1992), Soft Sift (2001), Six Children (2011) and Enter, Fleeing (2018), as well as of three collections of essays and of monographs on Raymond Roussel and on Thomas Hardy, will be reading from, and engaging in discussion about, his own hybrid poems, as well as exploring famous poetic thefts by such as T.S. Eliot, Hart Crane and Robert Lowell.

    Mark Ford, born in Kenya in 1962, is a British poet who has become known for tackling knowledge (and its limitations). He studied at the University of Oxford and is currently the Professor of English at UCL.

    Kirsten Norrie: Publishing Talk and Reading

    Thursday 15th November (6th Week), 7pm, Wadham Room, Kings Arms.

    MacGillivray is published by Bloodaxe in the UK and Red Hen, Los Angeles in the US. Her third collection 'A Crisis of Dream', forthcoming from Bloodaxe Spring 2019, is a trilogy comprising a Dantesque Gaelic tree alphabet 'The Gaelic Garden of the Dead', the relationship between optics and the paranormal 'A History of Ghost and 35 sonnets and chewed up sonnets to Mary Queen of Scots - one for each step she descended to execution then ground up for the fifteen minutes her lips moved after decapitation - 'In My End is My Beginning'. She is also the founder of the Oxford Poetry School.

    Kirsten is a fascinating writer and individual and her reading and publishing discussion are not to be missed.


    Caitríona O’Reilly, Keble Meet The Poets

    Thursday 15th November (6th week), 6.30pm, Pusey Room, Keble College

    Each term, a poet visits the college for a reading followed by a question-and-answer session. The spirit of the events is relaxed and informal. Entry is free, and the series is open to members of the university and to the public.

    Ann Drysdale

    Thursday 22nd November (7th week), 6pm, Christ Church, Lecture Room 1

    Ann Drysdale is a British poet and editor. She was born near Manchester, raised in London, married in Birmingham, ran a smallholding, brought up three children on the North York Moors, and now lives in South Wales. She was a journalist for many years, writing, among other things, the longest-running byline column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, which she later made into a series of books. Her recent publications have included two memoirs, Three-three, Two-two, Five-six and Discussing Wittgenstein, both from Cinnamon Press, and a quirky guidebook in the Real Wales series, Real Newport, from Seren. A fifth poetry collection, Quaintness and Other Offences, was recently published by Cinnamon Press.

    Ash Michaelmas

    Wednesday 28th November (8th week), 8pm, Christ Church JCR

    Come along to purchase a copy and hear our wonderful student poets read!

    Luke Allan - Poetry and Publishing (HILARY)

    Luke Allan lives and works in Manchester. He runs the small­ press sine wave peak, which specialises in concrete and minimal poetry, including recent works by Jerome Rothenberg, Thomas A Clark, and Aram Saroyan. He studied Creative Writing at UEA. While living in England he edited the journal of the Newcastle Philosophy Society and co-founded the poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog. In 2011 he received a Northern Writers’ Award. He works as editorial manager of the poetry press Carcanet.

    A chapbook, minimum soft exchange, is forthcoming in late 2015 from MIEL.


  • 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




    Haroun Hameed, Contemporary Reader's Group Co-ordinator


    Haroun Hameed studies Creative Writing at Keble. He loves poetry, but needs to read it in small doses, with lots of time in between to breathe and chew gum and look out the window. He is unsure if existential poems are better than poems about fish (it changes depending on his mood). He used to think existential poems were more intelligent, because they encourage self-reflection and capitalise the word Being, but now he thinks staring into the eye of a halibut may achieve the same thing more memorably and with less effort


    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