Poetry Centre

 Announcement

The results of our International Poetry Competition, judged by Caroline Bird, have been announced! Visit the competition page for details of the winning, commended and shortlisted poets, and to read the winning and commended poems. Many thanks to everyone who entered this year!

About us

The Poetry Centre, which is based within the School 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 (including a special workshop for military veterans), exhibitions, poetry readings, and community projects. The Centre also acts as a base for the extensive research being done into poetry in the school.

The Centre runs an annual International Poetry Competition which has two categories for entries: Open and English as an Additional Language. The competition usually runs from May until September and you can find more details on the competition 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.

ignitionpress pamphlets

Selection of ignition press pamphlets

Related courses

Research impact

Remington Typewriter

Based in the School of English and Modern Languages, the Poetry Centre has a highly active research culture. A number of academics within the school listed below work on poetry (in addition to other kinds of writing), and their work spans the ages: from the 1500s to the present day. Visit each researcher’s individual page to learn about the rest of their work and interests.

In REF2021 (the national assessment of research across the country), the Poetry Centre was submitted as a case study to demonstrate the impact that academic work can have on public life. You can read more about this work (exploring war poetry and the commemoration of war) elsewhere on the Oxford Brookes website.

Other colleagues associated with the Centre also contributed case studies. Read about Professor Simon Kӧvesi's work about bringing the work of the working class poet John Clare to different audiences, and the project associated with the research of Professor Alex Goody and Dr Eric White that allows marginalised young people the chance to express themselves through technology and art.

Leadership

Niall Munro

Dr Niall Munro

Senior Lecturer in American Literature & Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre

View profile

Membership

Staff

Name Role Email
Dr Claire Cox Poetry Centre Development Manager c.cox@brookes.ac.uk
Professor Katharine Craik Research Lead and Professor in Early Modern Literature (1500-1750) kcraik@brookes.ac.uk
Professor Alex Goody Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture agoody@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Andrea Macrae Principal Lecturer in Student Experience and Stylistics andrea.macrae@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Dinah Roe Reader in 19th Century Literature d.roe@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Eric White Reader in American Literature ewhite@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Simon White Reader in Romantic & Nineteenth-Century Literature s.white@brookes.ac.uk

Collaborators

Name Role Organisation
Dr Caroline Jackson-Houlston Lecturer in English Literature

Projects

Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Poetry Centre Interns

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre runs an internship programme to encourage undergraduate students to become more involved in the Centre's wide and exciting range of activities.

Dr Niall Munro From: September 2014

Completed projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Avant-Gardes Now! Symposium

The symposium was formulated in part as a more specific response to the 2014 BAMS Conference 'Modernism Now!'

Dr Niall Munro, Dr Eric White From: May 2015
Until: May 2015

Kate Clanchy, Oxford City Poet

Together with Oxford City Council, the Poetry Centre created the post of Oxford City Poet in 2011, and Kate Clanchy was appointed as the first City Poet with a remit to work to encourage both the reading and writing of poetry in Oxford and the region.

From: January 2011
Until: December 2011

Colloquium 07

The aim of this colloquium is to create space for discussion of issues surrounding twentieth- and twenty-first-century lyric poetry, particularly as it engages with notions of voice and authenticity. The colloquium is open to anyone with an interest in modern and contemporary poetry, regardless of whether or not they are presenting a paper or have any academic affiliation.

From: May 2007
Until: May 2007

New Generation to Next Generation 2014: Three Decades of British and Irish Poetry

This two-day conference, organized by the Institute of English Studies and Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre in collaboration with the Poetry Book Society, looks back at twenty years of New and Next Generation Poets. Its aim is to explore the legacy and impact of the scheme, but also use it as a focus to think more generally about contemporary poetry.

Dr Niall Munro From: March 2015
Until: March 2015

Oxfordshire Schools Poetry Competition

Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre ran a poetry competition across all schools in Oxfordshire, which received over 600 entries in total. 

Dr Rachel Buxton From: January 2014
Until: April 2014

Poetry on the Bus

Poetry on the Bus is an event that was run by the Poetry Centre in March 2007, and funded by Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts). It took poetry to the streets of Oxford using the Brookes Bus network -the aim was to get people to think differently about what poetry is and how it can relate to us.

Dr Rachel Buxton National Lottery From: March 2009
Until: March 2009

Science Bazaar 2012

The stall encouraged visitors to the Science Bazaar to consider poetry as one way of articulating the scientific innovation which they had witnessed at the event.

Dr Niall Munro From: March 2012
Until: March 2012

See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers

In recent years, the Poetry Centre has initiated a number of community projects such as See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers, which was supported by Arts Council England and the charities Asylum Welcome and Refugee Resource.

Arts Council England, Refugee Resource, Asylum Welcome From: January 2009
Until: December 2009

Science Writes to Life

Professor Steven Matthews

Spring Leaves

A haiku project at the OutBurst festival

Dr Caroline Jackson-Houlston From: May 2015
Until: May 2015

Walking over the Water: Pia Tafdrup poetry tour

The tour, entitled Walking over the Water (which refers to Pia's 1991 essay about her poetic method), is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, and also by the University of Reading and Roehampton Poetry Centre. Pia will visit Reading, Ledbury, and Oxford during her tour, and at each stop will read or be in discussion with a celebrated British poet: Peter Robinson in Reading, Fiona Sampson in Ledbury, and Philip Gross in Oxford.

Dr Niall Munro Danish Arts Foundation From: February 2017
Until: February 2017

Black History Month: Dreams and Legacies

In 2017, Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre commissioned poets and photographers to produce new work inspired by interviews with students and staff of colour at Oxford Brookes University.

Dr Niall Munro From: October 2017
Until: October 2017

Weekly Poem

The Weekly Poem initiative sends a free contemporary poem, published by an independent press, to your inbox every week! Click on the links to the right to sign up or to look through past Weekly Poems - running all the way back to 2007.

The presses participating in the initiative during the 2021–22 academic year are: Candlestick Press, Nine Arches Press, Bloodaxe Books, Bad Betty Press, tall-lighthouse, ignitionpress, and Seren Books.

We hope you will enjoy reading the poems and that you will be encouraged to support these presses by visiting their websites, signing up to their mailing lists, and buying their books.

Podcasts

The Poetry Centre Podcast focuses on the work of one poet or features discussion about poetry with poets and academics. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the link for the audio you would like to hear, or click on the Apple Podcasts link on the right in order to subscribe to the podcast series. You can also find us via other podcast providers like Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

Literary Oxford

The city of Oxford is a hive of literary activity, with a long history of fostering some of the world’s most famous creative minds.

Regular literary events

  • Catweazle - a warm, welcoming open-mic night often involving poetry and story telling, held at East Oxford Community Centre every Thursday night. Over 20 years old now!
  • No Reading Alone - a night of poetry and spoken word held once every few months around Oxford, hosted by the local writers group Oxwords.
  • Hammer and Tongue - a night of performance poetry, with headlining acts and a poetry slam, held at various venues around Oxford.
  • George’s Jamboree - a night of live music, comedy and performance poetry held on the first Monday of the month at the Jam Factory.
  • Hear the word - a regular night (that’s been going for 10 years now) for the performance of poetry, writing and songs open to all local writers, held at The Gardeners Arms, Plantation Road, Jericho.
  • Short Stories Aloud – short, often original creative work, read or performed by actors.

Venues hosting regular literary events

  • North Wall Arts Centre - a theatre and exhibition space which occasionally features performance poetry and storytelling.
  • The Story Museum – a treasure trove of creativity, tucked away in central Oxford, devoted to children’s fiction. Hosts with regular literary events, including author lectures.
  • Modern Art Oxford - the Basement Gigs at this venue often include nights of performance poetry, multimodal literary performances, storytelling and more.
  • Blackwells - the Broad Street branch of this bookselling chain occasionally includes evenings of live performance poetry and spoken word within its literary event schedule.
  • Pegasus Theatre – a lively theatre on Magdalen Road hosting a variety of plays.
  • The Duke’s Cut - a pub in central Oxford hosting poetry nights featuring the work of the Oxford University Poetry Society. You can find more details of Oxford (University) Poetry Society’s activities here.
  • Burton Taylor Studio – a small theatre near Gloucester Green offering innovative new plays.

Reading groups

Writer’s groups

  • Oxwords Oxford
  • Jericho Poets
  • Oxford Creative Writers
  • Freehand - a writers’ group that meets monthly in Oxford.
  • Stanza 2 - a poetry writing group made up of members of the Poetry Society. 
  • Back Room Poets
  • Oxford Poetry Society - the Oxford University poetry society, which runs frequent events and readings with local and internationally-renowned poets. The society can also be found on Facebook.

Oxford’s literary heritage

  • The Inklings – a group of writers, led by Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, who met and shared their work at various places in Oxford, not least the pub The Eagle and Child.
  • ‘Alice day’ – a day of events to celebrate Lewis Carroll‘s Alice!
  • The Bodleian Library – one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful libraries.

Short courses

Fire Up Your Poetry Practice: Professionalising your Poetry

Are you ready to take your poetry to the next level? Do you have a growing file of poems, but aren’t sure how to publish them? Are you wondering about how to get your first pamphlet together? This course aims to help you achieve your goal of being a ‘proper’ published poet, and to develop a more professional approach to your writing.

This is a five-week online course, with each session lasting two hours, and will be held via Zoom. Participants joining the online sessions will need to have access to a computer, laptop or tablet with a microphone and webcam, as well as a reliable broadband connection.

Dates: Tuesdays on 24 May, 31 May, 7 June, 14 June, 21 June 2022
Times: 
10.30 am–12.30 pm BST (with 10-15 minute break)

Fire Up Your Poetry Practice: Professionalising your Poetry

Resources

Weekly Poem publishers

The following publishers all generously contribute poems to this year’s weekly poem initiative:

  • Arc Publications : from Todmorden in Lancashire, Arc publishes contemporary poetry from the UK and abroad, specialising in poetry in translation. Arc has been publishing for forty years.
  • Anvil Press : publishing since 1968 and based in Greenwich, London, Anvil mainly publishes contemporary English poetry, with some Irish and American work, as well as work in translation.
  • BOA Editions Ltd : BOA Editions, from Rochester, New York, has been publishing since 1976, and publishes both American poetry and poetry in translation.
  • CB editions : began work in 2007, and has since published four titles a year in both poetry and fiction. The poetry has won the Aldeburgh Prize, received PBS recommendations, and various shortlistings for other prizes.
  • Enitharmon Press : established in 1967, Enitharmon is based in London.
  • Penned in the Margins : founded in 2004, Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London.Visit the Penned in the Margins website to sign up to the mailing list.
  • Seren Books : ('Seren' means 'star' in Welsh) based in Bridgend, South Wales. Originally conceived by Cary Archard and Dannie Abse as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine in the latter's garage in Ogmore-by-Sea in the early 80s, under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press has gone from strength to strength and has published a wide range of titles including fiction, art books, and poetry.
  • Shearsman Books : founded first in 1981 as a magazine, Shearsman now publishes new poetry from Britain and the USA, but also work in translation.
  • Worple Press : founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997, the press has published a wide range of authors, including Poetry Book Society Recommended Translations. 

Other publishers

  • Bloodaxe Books : founded in 1978, and located in Highgreen, Northumberland, Bloodaxe publishes poetry from all over the world.
  • Copper Canyon Press : based in Port Townsend, Washington, and publishing poetry exclusively since 1972, Copper Canyon’s list contains work by well-known and emerging writers.
  • Egg Box Publishing : operating out of Norwich, Norfolk, Egg Box aims to publish new and establishing writers.
  • Oversteps Books : founded in 1992 by the poet and translator, Anne Born, the press has been run since 2008 by the poet and lecturer Alwyn Marriage. It publishes a wide range of established and new poets.
  • Salt Publishing : started as a magazine in Australia in 1990, Salt began to publish books in the UK in 1999, and today publishes more than 80 books a year including poetry, biography, essays and literary criticism from authors worldwide.
  • Two Rivers Press : founded in Reading in 1994 by Peter Hay, Two Rivers focuses on local poets and often explores and celebrates local history and environment.

Poetry societies and organisations

Do visit our list of local poetry societies, groups, and organised readings.

  • Oxford University Poetry Society : a society run by students at Oxford University which hosts weekly readings during term-time and organizes an annual poetry reading competition, Poetry Out Loud. Non-Oxford people are very welcome to become members and/or attend readings.
  • The Poetry Society : the Society’s aims are to promote the study, use and enjoyment of poetry. Its programme of events includes readings, lectures and discussions.
  • The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry : based at Queen’s University, Belfast, the Centre is ‘a dynamic and vibrant focal point in Ireland for the writing, criticism and appreciation of modern literature.’
  • Poet in the City : a charity set up to develop new audiences for poetry and organize and host poetry events.
  • The Poetry Book Society : an organisation devoted to developing and maintaining a readership for poetry in the UK.

Poetry online: texts, audio archives and podcasts

  • The Poetry Archive : an online collection of recordings of poets reading their work (audio).
  • BBC Poetry Out Loud : poets performing their own work - plus scroll down for a link to interviews with poets (audio).
  • Favorite Poem Project : an American site with footage of people talking about and reading their favourite poems (video).
  • Poets.org (part of the Academy of American Poets) : an archive of over 700 poetry readings, lectures, and symposia (audio).
  • PENNsound : an ongoing project committed to producing new audio recordings and preserving existing audio archives (audio).
  • The Poem : dedicated to furthering contemporary British and Irish poetry; provides access to texts of poems.

Web-based poetry resources

  • The Poetry House : an excellent resource providing access to a comprehensive set of poetry-related materials.
  • The Poetry Library’s poetry magazines archive : a searchable archive of UK-published poetry journals - especially good for contemporary poetry.
  • Voices and Visions : free documentaries about American poets.
  • Intute : a free online service designed to find the best resources on the web for study and research. Although it closed in July 2011, there is still an archive of useful material.

Resources for writers

Here at the Poetry Centre we’re not in a position to provide feedback on poems you’ve written, or to offer advice about getting them published - but we can recommend the following sites:

  • Frequently asked questions about getting poetry published, answered by The Poetry Society.
  • The Poetry School : an organisation which focuses on teaching the reading and the writing of poetry to adults; the tutors are well-known published poets.
  • Guardian Poetry Workshops : monthly workshops, each hosted by a different published poet who sets an exercise, chooses the most interesting responses, and offers an appraisal of them.

News