The Poetry Centre, which is based within the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes University, was launched in 1998, and hosts an exciting annual programme of events, which include conferences and research seminars, workshops, exhibitions, poetry readings, and community projects. Please click on the links on the left-hand side of this page to see the latest programme of readings and workshops. The Centre also runs a highly successful annual International Poetry Competition which has two categories for entries: Open and English as an Additional Language. You can find out more about past winners and how to enter the latest competition on this page.
In 2017, the Poetry Centre established ignitionpress, a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. Our first pamphlets, with work by Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, and Patrick James Errington, will be available in early 2018.
The Centre also acts as a base for the research being done into poetry in the Department, and you can find out more about that work here. Current projects housed within the Centre include the AGAST Project (Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology), and you can read more about that here.
Past projects have been in the areas of poetry and science; poetry and the environment; poetry and business; poetry and mental health; and performance poetry in Oxfordshire. From 2008-9 the Centre also ran a project pairing poets with refugees and asylum seekers to work collaboratively on new poetry. The result of this was the anthology See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers, which you can download here. You can learn more about all of these projects and more by clicking on the Projects link to the left of this page.
Within Brookes, the Poetry Centre runs an internship programme for undergraduates, during which the interns help to run numerous projects such as events for National Poetry Day, a contemporary poetry reading group, and spoken word evenings. You can read more about these projects by clicking on the relevant Projects link to the left. The Centre also acts as a base for PhD students studying and writing in the area, and contributes every semester to the EML Research Seminar series. We also review new books of poetry on our Review Blog.
In collaboration with Oxford City Council, the Centre co-ordinated the Oxford City Poet scheme from 2011-13. The City Poet's remit was to encourage both the reading and writing of poetry in Oxford and the region. The first City Poet was Kate Clanchy, and you can find out about her work in the Projects section of the site. In 2013, Kate Clanchy, the Poetry Centre, and Oxford City Council also set up the post of Oxford Youth Ambassador for Poetry, which was held by Azfa Awad between 2013-14.
The Centre is actively involved in social media and digital outreach. As well as promoting research and events through a lively Facebook page and Twitter feed, it has also run a Weekly Poem initiative since 2007 through which the work of independent presses and their poets is showcased every Monday. These poems are then archived as a permanent record of important contemporary poets and trends in poetry. The website also features the Centre’s dedicated podcasts, which are designed to allow establishing poets from in and around Oxfordshire space to discuss their work and ideas.