• 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.

  • 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, 8:30pm, T.S. Eliot Theatre, Merton College. Approx. 50 mins duration. Free entry.

    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 (2018-2019)

    (we're still under construction at the moment!)

    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




    Workshop Coordinator


    Position open! Email maya.little@mansfield.ox.ac.uk if you're interested.

    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



    Jack Sagar, Secretary




    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.

  • 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

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