• 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'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 Hilary '19 is still available to order to Oxford college addresses.

    ASH Hilary '19

    Buy this term's issue of ASH, OUPS's termly magazine! This term featuring Jane Griffiths and Grażyna Wojcieszko alongside student poets.

    Edited by Alex Matraxia and Sammy Moriarty.

    (past editions are also available through the drop down menu)
    Select an option
    Coming soon
  • Michaelmas Termcard

    Sign up to our mailing list for further additions. All events are open to the public.

    Open Mic for MIND

    Wednesday 8th May (2nd Week), 7.30-10pm, Common Ground Workspace

    We're back at it again with another Open Mic in partnership with Oxford Writer's House. This time we are glad to announce this Mental Health Open Mic to raise donations for Oxfordshire Mind.

    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.

    Poets at Keble - Hannah Sullivan

    Thursday, 23rd May (4th week), 6.30pm, Pusey Room, Keble College

    Hannah Sullivan is a poet and critic. She received her PhD in English and American Literature from Harvard in 2008 and, before coming to New College, Oxford, she was an Assistant Professor in the English department at Stanford. Her first book, The Work of Revision (2013), won the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, and her debut collection, Three Poems (2018), won the T. S. Eliot Prize and the inaugural John Pollard Foundation Poetry Prize.


    Please email any queries to matthew.bevis@ell.ox.ac.uk

    What We Should Have Said

    Wednesday 29th May (5th week), 8pm, T.S. Eliot Theatre, Merton College

    'What We Should Have Said' is a unique touring performance event staging interconnected poetry and music. Actor and performance artist Stuart Silver (known to many of you from The Double, The Mighty Boosh, and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) leads the troupe, with guest poets Lorraine Marriner, Rachel Long, Stuart Silver, Richard Douglas Pennant and with Peter Foggitt on piano.

    **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 7:55pm, and a committee member will escort you to the theatre.

    Approx. 50 mins duration. Free entry, but donations welcomed and suggested as we are a student run society on a tight budget!

    Adam Phillips Seminar

    Wednesday 5th June (6th week), 4.30pm, Pusey Room, Keble College

    Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and essayist. He is author of many books, including On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored, On Flirtation, The Beast in the Nursery, Darwin’s Worms, Houdini’s Box, Going Sane, Missing Out, Becoming Freud, and In Writing. His next book, Attention Seeking, will be published in July.


    ‘The Poet’s Essay’ seminar is held three times a year. There are no sign-up lists or reserved places, although there is a small amount of required reading in advance of each seminar. The series focuses primarily on American poetry of the twentieth century. Before each seminar, Phillips prepares a handout featuring a selection of work to be discussed; the handout is available via a downloadable link, and at the seminar Phillips introduces the material and leads the discussion.


    The next seminar will be on John Koethe's 'The Experience of Experience'


    All welcome. Enquiries: matthew.bevis@ell.ox.ac.uk

    Poetry, Philosophy and Fizz w/ MCPS & PWIPS

    Friday 7th June, 8pm, T.S Eliot Theatre, Merton College

    Not content with the single alliteration of last term's 'Feminism and Fizz', People for Women in Philosophy Society have joined the party to make an eye- and phonic-alliterative event!


    We'll be having Emma Mason, Rachel Fraser and Lillian Hingley give (relaxed) mini-talks about the intersection between Philosophy and Poetry, plus there'll be the chance to mingle over prosecco and sign up for an open mic (philosophy themed poems particularly appreciated!).


    If you would like to read at the open mic, please email oxforduniversitypoetrysociety@gmail.com.


    Entry is £3, free for Merton students.

    Visual Media Poetry Workshop

    Tuesday 11th June (7th Week), 7pm, Seminar Room East, Mansfield College.

    This term we're spicing thing up with a visual poetry workshop. You'll be able to try your hand at collage poetry, blackout poetry, and much more! This is a great way to get crafty with words whether you never write poetry or are just looking for some new techniques to get the inspiration flowing.

    Poetry Walk & Picnic with Merton Poetry Society

    Saturday 15th June (7th week), 1.30pm, meeting at Christ Church Meadows St Aldate's entrance

    Take a guided walk of Oxford with us as we visit some poetic spots around the city, ending with a picnic in the park to soak up the Trinity sunshine!

    Martin Starkie Competition and Prize-giving



    Oxford University Poetry Society's annual poetry competition, The Martin Starkie Prize, will be open for submissions from Sunday 5th May and submissions will close on Sunday 19th May.


    Please send your poem/poems (in .pdf format), no longer than 100 LINES in combined length, to oxforduniversitypoetrysociety@gmail.com. You will not receive a confirmation email.


    Poems 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). Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if your poem is accepted for publication elsewhere, it is your responsibility to let us know as soon as possible so that your poem can be withdrawn from the competition.


    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 HANNAH SULLIVAN, 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 a cash prize of £300 for the Martin Starkie Prize, and £200 for the Dart Prize, and the winning poems will be published in OUPS's termly magazine, Ash, in its next edition.


    The shortlist will be announced by 31st May, and the shortlisted poets will be invited to a reading where the winner will be announced.

    ASH Trinity

    Our faithful editors will be bringing you another brilliant edition of ASH this term - submissions open now:

    To submit to the next edition of ASH, please email your poem(s) attached in a Word document to ash-oups@outlook.com. Include the title(s) of your poem(s) in the body of the email, as well as a short biography (no more than 55 words in third person) in case your poetry is selected. Poems should be your own work and in English (although of course this is broad and open to variation – do email if you have queries).

    Please submit a maximum of 100 lines in total: this could take the form of 3 shorter poems or one or two long ones. The deadline for submissions will be midnight on the Sunday of 4th week. You will not receive a confirmation email.

  • 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 (2019-2020)


    Annie Fan, President

    Hello! I'm Annie (she/they), a second-year law student at St Hugh’s College. As well as spending the year wallowing in my tort textbooks, I hope to bring you three packed and plentiful terms of poetry!


    My work has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and appears, or will appear, in Poetry London, Ambit, and The Manchester Review, among others. I was a prizewinner in Tower Poetry, twice, and was commended twice in Foyle Young Poets of the Year. I’ve also received Lancaster University’s prizes for both poetry and fiction, in addition to the Young Person’s Prize at Ledbury Poetry Festival and the Felix Dennis Award at Stratford Literary Festival. Currently, I’m also a shadow trustee at MPT Magazine (so please, please, please discuss poetry in translation with me!).


    Feel free to get in touch about anything poetry related – you can contact me via email (annie.fan@st-hughs.ox.ac.uk), or on twitter (@gnomic_aorist)

    Alexander Haveron-Jones, Secretary and Social Media Manager

    I'm Alex, a second-year studying English at Somerville. Although my poetry is often somewhat private, something I share with friends and fellow student poets, I have previously had some of my verse published in Oxford-based publications such as Isis and our very own ASH.

    Although, admittedly, I currently write more prose than I do poetry, I very much anticipate all the wonderful events this coming academic year, and am sure that I will meet so many vibrant Oxford poets.


    As secretary and social media manager, I will be making sure that everyone is updated as to OUPS' events and opportunities, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy contacting you all in our weekly mail-out.

    You can always contact me via email (alexander.haveronjones@some.ox.ac.uk), or my Instagram (@alexander.hj).

    Natalie Perman, Workshops Coordinator


    Hi poetry lovers! I’m Natalie, a second-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.

  • Social Media

    Stay updated by liking our official Facebook page or emailing us with any questions you might have.

  • Donors

    Supporting Oxford University Poetry Society

    Oxford University Poetry Society runs on the generosity of those who want to see poetry in Oxford thrive.

    Special thanks to those who have donated on our GoFundMe:


    Mary-Lucille Hindmarch

    Kate Paul

    Sandy Fraser

    Laura Lamont

    Lorraine Fraser-Leonard

    Andy Leonard

    Vahni Capildeo

    Jeremy Noel-Tod

    Rishi Dastidar

    Michael Donkor


    Donations can be made on our GoFundMe: