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Call for submissions

‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant —’ (Emily Dickinson)

To ‘slant’: to slope or lean in a particular direction, to diverge from a norm, or to take a particular view. The Editors are now re-opening submissions for Oxford Poetry’s Summer 2017 issue, which will seek to interpret or interrogate the theme of ‘slant’.

We want work which slips and skews, distorts and discovers; poems that are unafraid to challenge received assumptions or viewpoints. In today's world where the dichotomies between real and fake, truth and fiction are all too stark, we ask one thing: give us your slant.

Deadline - 15th May 2017

Launch Event

Join Oxford Poetry editors past and present at the LRB Bookshop, 14-16 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, from 7pm on Monday 6th March. We will celebrate the launch of the latest issue with readings from contributors including Melissa Lee-Houghton, Martha Kapos, Jo Morris Dixon, Fiona Sampson, Mark Waldron and Jennifer Wong.

Admission: £4 on the door, or £10 to include a copy of the magazine – please bring cash. Free refreshments.

XVI.iii Winter 2016-17 EDITORIAL

Against a tumultuous global backdrop, the new editors of Oxford Poetry issued our first themed call for submissions on ‘erasure’, hoping to interrogate its wider meanings with regard to persons, communities and histories. In particular, we sought submissions which addressed daily triumphs and tragedies, since it is often through the local that the cosmopolitan can be glimpsed.

The forms of erasure encapsulated in the following pages are daring and diverse, ranging from border-crossing (Rona Fitzgerald, Afua Ansong), xenophobia and racism (Tariro Ndoro, Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley), and Hong Kong’s fraught relationship with Mainland China (Jennifer Wong), to a mother’s stillbirth (Abegail Morley) and the intimate correspondence between two women (Lisa Matthews). Other forms of erasure deal explicitly with emotions: loss (Eleni Philippou), melancholy (Melissa Lee-Houghton, Jo Morris Dixon), and ways of grieving (Sarah B. Puschmann, Timothy Houghton, Alison Brackenbury, Maitreyabandhu).

Some contributors boldly re-envision canonical work by Jean Racine and William Shakespeare (Andrew McCulloch, Melissa Frederick), or turn to Nature as a double-edged sword: a source of inspiration, transformation and regeneration (John Greening, Sarah Cave, Amy Wolstenhome), as well as an impetus for pathetic fallacy (Dom Bury, Mary Anne Clark). Yet others seek to critique received notions of nationhood (J.R. Carpenter, Shukyria Rezaei), or distil the strange familiarity of a foreign place (Mark McGuiness).

We are especially grateful to Bernard O’Donoghue for his tribute to John Fuller, and to Jack Underwood for his original essay on the implications of ‘erasure’ in a “post-truth” era. We are also delighted to introduce a new interview series: first under the spotlight is Nicholas Wong, whose collection Crevasse won the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Finally, the issue includes incisive reviews of new titles from Smith | Doorstop, Guillemot Press, and Chatto and Windus. It is with great pleasure that we take up the task of editing Oxford Poetry in 2017, and we hope that you – our readers, will join us on this journey towards new and ever-expanding horizons.

For a full list of contributors and to purchase a copy or subscription, visit our Shop page.

Submissions Closed

Thank you to everyone who submitted work to the 'Erasure' issue - your poems were read by the editors during December. The submissions window is now closed until the Spring.

Call for submissions

The new editors of Oxford Poetry are delighted to issue our first themed call for submissions, on 'Erasure'. Whilst many of us might be familiar with erasure/black-out poems, we are keen to also solicit work that interrogates the wider meanings of 'erasure' - especially in relevance to persons, communities, and histories - or else offers a new slant on such a loaded term. We seek work that is diverse, innovative, and daring in terms of content, origins and form.

For guidelines visit our Submit page. We look forward to hearing from you. The deadline for submissions is 30 November, 2016.


New editors of Oxford Poetry

Oxford Poetry is pleased to announce its new editors: Nancy Campbell, Mary Jean Chan and Theophilus Kwek.

They have taken up the role and are working on their first issue, Oxford Poetry XVI.iii Winter 2016-17. There will be an event to celebrate the handover; details to be confirmed.

Current editors Mika Ross-Southall and Andrew Wynn Owen (since 2015) and Lavinia Singer (since 2012) thank all who have supported them over their years of editorship, and wish the new team every success for this exciting new chapter of the magazine’s history.


XVI.ii / Summer 2016 Editorial

Encrusted in paper word impasto, this issue of Oxford Poetry celebrates the relationship between the verbal and the visual.

Some poets respond ekphrastically to works of art (Richie McCaffery, Jeremy Valentine Freeman Ganem, Pascale Petit, Nancy Posey). Others paint worlds through bold metaphor and surreal imagery (John Burnside, Rebecca Perry, Mark Waldron, Astrid Alben, Martha Kapos) or evoke the subtleties of consciousness, memory and perception (Dominic Hand, Fiona Sampson, Denise Saul). Others step into the realm of visual poetry (SJ Fowler) to shape their words on the page (Chris Kerr, Elaine Feeney).

Our glittering prose covers the skill of glass engraving (Jim McCue); the ‘sister arts’ of poetry and painting, both Pre-Raphaelite (Serena Trowbridge) and Abstract Expressionist (Matthew Holman); word and image hybrids in poetry comics (Charlotte Geater); the aesthetics of a single word (Marina Warner); and the ‘seeing fingers’ of a letterpress printer (John Randle).

Throughout, a rich assortment of artwork, from line-drawings (Rebecca Harper, Klaussie Williams) to screenprints (Kathryn Lewis, Charlie Godet Thomas), shines alongside. How does each speak to the other? Ideas such as ‘illustration’ or ut pictura poesis have prompted re-interpretation and dissent. The poet W. S. Graham observed that ‘visual with words . . . is always a montage’. And yet, as he wrote to the artist Roger Hilton, both are ways of finding ‘new marks and gestures to put on the visual silence’. In the spirit of Sarah Eliza Kelly's cover art, this issue aims to redefine the boundaries of verbal/visual – offering a kaleidoscope of ‘beautiful forms’, shifting in a reader’s eye.

For a full list of contributors and to purchase a copy or subscription, visit our Shop page.


XVI.i / Winter 2015-16 Editorial

“A land of adventure” is how Angela Leighton’s prosody is described in one of our reviews (Andrew Wynn Owen), and it is a fitting description for this issue’s poetry and prose.

As with Leighton, there is bold handling of language: fun with phonetics (Paul Stephenson), nitty-gritty grammar (Maryanne Hannan) and interrogation of the significance of names (Ko Ha, Seán Hewitt).

We journey through living landscapes of nature that intimate the “wholeness of a world” (Roy Patience), inhabited by creatures as various as calling loons (Matt Riker), predatory spiders (Sean Borodale) and misunderstood salamanders (Frank Klaassen).

There is a special kind of loneliness in travelling (Jenny Xie, Sarah Lindon). And yet, we strive to inhabit the “landscape of other people” (Jess Cotton), whether in raw sexual encounters (Alison Winch, A K Blakemore), family relationships (Stephanie Zingeler, Jennie Malboeuf) or through distilling the elements of love (Jordie Albiston).

Finally, we reach prospective unorthodox burials (A. E. Stallings) and memorialising tributes (Robert Selby, Mary Jean Chan) for those who have left for new lands – the mysteries of which we are yet to uncover (D. Nurkse, Clive James).

All these wanderings are complemented by the visual lands of our cover artist (Tobias Ross-Southall), whose enigmatic images capture conflicting moodscapes of isolation and defiance, the erotic and uncanny, ambition and decline.

For a full list of contributors and to purchase a copy or subscription, visit our Shop page.


XV.iii / Summer 2015

The latest edition of Oxford Poetry has finally arrived in all its colourful vibrancy and is available to order from our Shop page, where you can also see the list of contributors. Inside, you'll find poems characterised by counterintuitive compounds, ‘nightlife’ and ‘daydeath’. What are the implications of laying aside a day for the dead? How does a city come to life after dark? And then how lively the “race to the death” in a new poem by Simon Armitage – to whom we extend hearty welcome in his new role as the Oxford Professor of Poetry. To top it all off, we have Hayden Kay's artwork – grinning skulls both mask-like and exposing what lies beneath the mask.

We hope you enjoy it.


New Editorship Announcement

Oxford Poetry is delighted to welcome two new editors who are joining Lavinia Singer at the helm: Mika Ross-Southall and Andrew Wynn-Owen. Our first issue together will be the forthcoming Summer issue, submissions for which we are trawling through currently. Thank you, poets, for your patience.

We would like to give our greatest thanks and appreciation to the immense work of former editor Aime Williams who is off to explore new literary 'litora'. The magazine's new design, database, printers and website – not to mention the four issues since 2012 including OP's special centenary celebration – could not have been done without her. She will be missed.

And so, to new horizons!


XV.ii / Winter 2014-15

The latest Oxford Poetry has arrived in all its chilling glory and is available to order on our Shop page, where you can also find a list of all contributors.

At this moment we are NOT open to submissions – the deadline was 31st May. We are unable to consider work received after this date. A new deadline will be uploaded onto our Submissions page in due course.


XV.i / Summer 2014

Autumn's russets and raindrops may be upon us, but enjoy a last ray of summer with the latest Oxford Poetry. Currently at the printers, it should be with all our subscribers by the end of the month. Preorder and peruse its contents page at our Shop here!


Open for Submissions

Now that our summer issue is well on the way, we are open to receiving submissions once more. Please read our guidelines before sending, which can be found in the Submit section of our website.

And please note that there may be quite a wait until we respond. We'll do our best !


Oxford Poetry Summer Issue

We are currently putting together our summer issue, and are in the process of replying to all our submissions. Thank you for your patience!

At this time, we are not open for submissions. Please check the Submit section of our website, which we will update with the new deadline before long.

In the meantime, Oxford Poetry: 100 years is out and available to buy here. With archive material from former editors, as well as new poems and contributors, it is a truly special historical momento.

Thank you to all of our supporters. We look forward to sharing a new issue with you soon!


100 years of Oxford Poetry

The next issue of Oxford Poetry will be a special centenary edition, celebrating the rich history of the magazine and its extraordinary array of writers since first being published by Sir Basil Blackwell as Oxford Poetry: 1910–1913.

We will be launching the edition with drinks and readings right back where it all started: at Blackwell's Bookshop in Oxford, on Tuesday 28th January.

Buy tickets here

See you there!


XIV.3: Editorial

This edition of Oxford Poetry comes to you with a beautiful map, although I’m not sure it would get you anywhere. This map is an accident; resisting editorial tyranny, we didn’t set a theme for this issue. But our reviews have sailed back to us with thoughts of travel and distant lands. Laura Marsh, writing from New York, reminds us of Charles Simic’s ‘shifting, émigré life’ in post-war Europe. His New & Selected is shaped by a travel at the mercy of paperwork and postage-stamps. ‘Poetry-cartographer’ John Gallas explores European poetries in his new Carcanet collection – reviewed here by Evan Jones. Crossing the Atlantic, Alex Niven sketches the ‘coordinates’ plotted between late-modernist verse and the contemporary avant-garde of Flood Editions. Hugh Foley, meanwhile, dislikes both posturing and psychogeography, preferring ‘imperial misadventure’ instead. Colette Sensier retreats to fairytale worlds, and, totally unrelatedly, Adam Crothers thinks about C.K. Williams’s failure to die.

If maps are a thing of certainty and direction, it seems understandable that when either are lacking we return to maps for routes through. There are obvious points to be made about the various crises we share as a globe. And the tenuousness of our theme perhaps matches the growing sense of maps not as navigation, but as exploration. Certainty seems ever more irrelevant.

Aime Williams


‘Map me no Maps, Sir, my Head is a Map’ – Politick, from Fielding’s Rape upon Rape.

MAP: The word covers much more than the little ‘table napkin’ from which it originated: heads, poems, websites…all spaces for concentrating and celebrating the data of lived experience.

And a magazine is no exception: forgive us, Politick, but Oxford Poetry is a colourful sail of a map, charting dazzling lands. Some poems are rooted to this earth – Wendy Klein’s peas and the rare plants of Annie Freud. Others blasting beyond – Adam O. Davis’s ‘Astronauts’ and Mark Ford’s 'shifting / architecture of the clouds'. We encounter the 'strange knowledge' of human love, depicted by Niall Campbell and Jack Underwood, and the exotic trails laid by foreign words, thanks to Roddy Lumsden and Jamie McKendrick. Even further, as Aime has mentioned: the continent-skipping, generation-jumping range of our reviews.

Lastly, to remind us that cartography is as much a realm for visual aesthetics, we are delighted by Hannah Bagshaw's inventive map design, which makes this magazine a very pretty napkin indeed.

Enjoy the journey!

Lavinia Singer


OP & the Internet

Welcome to the new Oxford Poetry website, designed and built by Kathryn Lewis. We hope our century-old archives, featuring interviews and the odd article, will now be more accessible.

Issue XIV.3 is currently with the printers and will be on its way to subscribers soon! If you're not a subscriber or you'd like to buy single issues of the magazine, you can visit our new online shop.


XIV.2: Editorial

To 'edit' – e + dere – is to 'give out' or 'put forth', and so comes the editor's task of selecting poems to place in the spotlight. But where to start?

The magazine initially offered the poetry of young students "from one not very large University", as Gilbert Murray acknowledged in the Introduction. For our first issue as editors, we too have decided to 'strip back' to a selection of verse, narrowing focus on the poems themselves. Yet thankfully, OP now accepts work by poets of all ages and backgrounds. One of our contributors is an Oxford undergraduate, but we welcome many more: students from elsewhere, professors, editors, bloggers, international writers, the well-established and neophytes.

Murray admitted to holding "classic" preferences: "I do believe that a rose has as a rule more beauty than a c

Poetry Press from The Page

"To some extent this is ground that Kennard has covered before, but Cain is an altogether darker creation, written from the doldrums between youth and middle-age (the stretch that people who don’t hate themselves call their “prime”)." Paul Batchelor New Statesman

"A chronicle of modern St. Lucia, it was also an epic of the New World, weaving from its characters’ encounters with history a deeper, vaster story on a sunken loom. On walks down the Lenape Trail near my childhood home in New Jersey, I listened for the lost Indian languages Walcott heard in the woodcutters’ pyre: “a resinous bonfire that turned the leaves brown/ with curling tongues, then ash, and their language was lost.”" Julian Lucas NYT

"“Poems are visible right now, which is terribly ironic, because you rather wish it weren’t so necessary,” [Jane Hirshfield] said. “When poetry is a backwater it means times are O.K. When times are dire, that’s exactly when poetry is needed.”" Alexandra Alter NYT

"The mother is more appealing, as she struggles to grasp her daughter’s online fame. “No, no, no, no, no, no, Mom,” Patricia [Lockwood] says regarding the viral rape poem. “You must never look at the comments.” “Do not post this on the internet,” Mom vainly commands at another point." Suzi Feay FT


Oxford Poetry is published twice a year, and currently edited by Nancy Campbell, Mary Jean Chan and Theophilus Kwek.

© Oxford Poetry 2017