Episode 4: Alan Buckley

This is the fourth in our Oxford Poets podcast series, which features interviews and discussions with local writers. The next episode, in which Niall Munro interviews Oxford-based poet and former Director of the Poetry Centre, Steven Matthews, will appear in May.

The theme music for the podcast, entitled Leaving for the North, was composed by Aneurin Rees, and played by Aneurin Rees (guitar) and Rosalie Tribe (violin). 

Originally from Merseyside, Alan Buckley moved to Oxford in the 1980s to study English Literature and has lived here ever since.

Described by Ben Wilkinson as 'a whip-smart, hard-thinking writer', Alan published his debut pamphlet, Shiver, with tall-lighthouse in 2009, and it was selected as the Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for the summer of the same year. Alan was awarded an Arts Council writer’s grant in 2009 and won first prize in the 2010 Wigtown Poetry Competition, around the same time that he was also shortlisted for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize. He has previously co-run a live literature programme in HMP Grendon, and is currently working for the charity First Story in a local secondary school’s inclusion unit.

Alan has performed regularly at the Catweazle Club over the last eight years. In 2009 and 2010 he worked with several other Oxford poets, and a variety of classical and improvising musicians, to create the two-hour shows The Quarterly Report, Broadside and The Second Quarterly Report. He also regularly organises and compères evenings of music and poetry at a range of venues in Oxford.

Alan is featured on the Poets in Oxford pages on the Poetry Centre website here, and you can hear him read from more of his work at the PoetCasting site.


Although your mobile must be lying still
and unblinking on a bedside table,

or stuffed in a bag with a pointless diary,
tonight I ring it one last time, and hear

your voice, clear, unwavering, as you ask me
to please leave a message after the tone,

and then I try to pretend you’re busy,
writing songs on your scuffed acoustic, or down

in the lush, quiet county you were born in,
hands on the steering wheel’s leopard-print cover,

casually speeding south through a warren
of hedge-bound lanes, stone bridges, up over

Eggardon Hill, to the place you’d go to stare
at the waves, and breathe the incoming air.

by Alan Buckley