“One of the best small magazines in the country.”
Tom Paulin

What is OP?

What is Oxford Poetry?

Oxford Poetry is over 100 years old. It is probably the oldest dedicated poetry magazine in the world today. The magazine was started in 1910 by Oxford undergraduates and published by Basil Blackwell. Previous editors have included Aldous Huxley, Siegfried Sassoon, W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Kingsley Amis, Geoffrey Hill, John Fuller, John Lanchester and Robert Macfarlane. In the 1980s, Mick Imlah, Nicholas Jenkins and Bernard O'Donoghue revived it as a more outward-looking journal – no longer restricted to publishing student poetry but maintaining a connection with the university.

The list of contributors throughout its history is as impressive as it is diverse. In recent years, readers would have come across poems by Seamus Heaney, Andrew Motion, Mario Petrucci, Wendy Cope, George Szirtes, Carol Ann Duffy, David Constantine and Glyn Maxwell. Read about how to submit work or subscribe.

Poetry Press from The Page

"You can no more say what an Ashbery poem is about than you can say what a laughing hyena is about. The limits of sense, the tomfoolery that isn’t quite foolery, the impending doom that never pends—all the poems are about poetry, more or less. They’re like watching a man on a distant breakwater. From his panicky gestures and his leaps and caracoles you know something is terribly wrong, unless he’s just rehearsing the fencing scene in Hamlet." William Logan New Criterion

"While lamenting the fact that no publishers would deign to put out his work, Knott turned down publishing offers from big presses like Farrar, Straus and Giroux (which, while he was alive, put out his 2004 volume The Unsubscriber and wanted to continue working with him on other volumes) and well-known small presses like Black Ocean. Instead, he released his own collections online, maintaining that the “vanity” publishing of his work was something he was reduced to when, in fact, he willfully chose that route. The “traditional” publication of Knott’s poetry was, to be sure, desired by multiple outside parties." Jeff Alessandrelli Lithub

"The Lice foreshadows our current political climate, as though Merwin were somehow reflecting from the future. “The judges have chains in their sleeves / To get where they are,” he writes in “Bread at Midnight.” “Caesar” ends with a ghastly image of a dictator who is both tyrant and puppet. The speaker has the horrific job of transporting the leader, “Wheeling the president past banks of flowers / Past the feet of empty stairs / Hoping he’s dead.” Those banks of flowers call our attention to the hellscape that the environment has become. If these banks of flowers are natural, they’re in stark contrast to the president, forcing his control and reign over the world. More likely, they’re banks of flowers planted where they don’t belong, heaped in forced, funereal abundance in celebration of a tyrant." Adrienne Raphel Poetry

"There’s only one full-dress essay in the book, and it’s much more heavy-duty than the rest. The subject is the poetry of Frederick Seidel, and the essay handles a familiar critical problem—the morality of bad taste, the Jeff Koons–Michel Houellebecq–Bret Easton Ellis problem—expertly if not entirely originally. The essay does include observations like “The death drive is figured here as the desire to literalize the trope of the subject’s dispersal.” When I hear the words “literalize the trope,” I reach for my remote. Hyperbole is an ever-present danger up there on the high-low tightrope. What helps the critic keep his or her balance is the acknowledgment that it is hyperbole, that there is a rhetoric of aesthetic experience—the experience of reading poems or listening to songs we’re strongly attached to—that is always in excess of the actual content." Louis Menand New Yorker


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

© Oxford Poetry 2017