• 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 by Martin Starkie, 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.


    2019-2020 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 PN ReviewPoetry London, and Ambit, 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 I am always writing poetry, it is often somewhat private, something I share only with friends and fellow students - however, I have previously had some of my work published in Oxford publications such as The Isis and our very own ASH.

    Although I currently write much more prose than I do poetry, I anticipate all the wonderful events coming this academic year, and am sure that I will be able to meet 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 look forward to contacting you all in our weekly mail-out.

    Feel free to contact me via email if you have any questions (alexander.haveronjones@some.ox.ac.uk)!

    Chinma Johnson-Nwosu, Treasurer


    Hello! I’m Chinma, a Second-Year English Student at Christ Church, a writer of some pretty cumbersome poetry, and this year’s OUPS Treasurer. When I’m not figuring out how to work with numbers as well as words, I can be found meditating on language and literature, somewhere on a yoga mat, or pretending I can talk to the moon. When it’s time to get back to earth, I’m more than happy to talk about funding, grants or any financial support you might need from the OUPS.

    As your Treasurer, I’m all about making sure that the beauty of poetry can be fully realised!

    Natalie Perman, Workshop Coordinator


    Hi poetry lovers! I’m Natalie, a second-year English and German student at St John’s. I’m a 2017 and 2018 winning and commended Foyle Young Poet and have won the Forward Student Critics’ Award as well as publication online with the Poetry Society such as as first-prize winner in the Civilisation and Its Discontents challenge on Young Poets Network and third-prize winner in the Thinking Outside the Penalty Box challenge. I have also appeared in various student publications, (such as ASH!)


    Paul Celan said “The poem is lonely...lonely and en route” and as workshops coordinator I am here to help you chase down your lonely, soon-to-be born poems! Get in touch with me about anything poetry related on natalie.perman@sjc.ox.ac.uk or find me on Twitter @kafkababka !


    Hannah Patient, ASH Editor


    Hi, I'm Hannah, one half of your illustrious ASH editorial team. I'm a third-year English student at Somerville who enjoys travelling, watching detective dramas and eating chips with mayonnaise. I'm the former Essex Young Poet of the Year and my work has appeared in publications including Blacklist Journal, The Purple Breakfast Review and The Oxford Review of Books. You can read some of my poems on my personal blog at www.theroguishapostrophe.wordpress.com.


    I'm really excited to read all your work - please feel free to email me if you have any questions at hannah.patient@some.ox.ac.uk. I also have a very new and underused Twitter account (@patient_hannah).

    Ivana Cholakova, ASH Editor


    Heya, I’m Ivana, the other half of the famous ASH editorial team. I’m a second-year German student at LMH whose interests include reading confusing foreign novels and binge watching anything on Netflix. Having been brought up trilingual, I love to look at the interaction of poetry in different languages. (Translations are thus warmly welcomed and encouraged!)


    I mostly write spoken word poetry which I share with my friends and the lucky people who attend OUPS’ Open Mic nights. If you would be interested performing and need that extra encouragement and advice you are always welcome to drop me an email! Poetry is meant to be heard and appreciated! I am excited to read all your beautiful, creative work. If you have any questions, please email me at ivana.cholakova@lmh.ox.ac.uk

    Flora de Falbe, Events Coordinator


    Flora is studying for an MSt in Creative Writing while working as a part-time bookseller. She has written poetry since her teens, when she was a two-time Foyle Young Poet, and was the Ledbury Festival Young Poet in Residence in 2016. She completed her undergraduate degree in English at Cambridge.

    Alex Beukers, Publishing Officer


  • Social Media

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  • 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: