Infinite forms


Back Room Poets with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History will be hosting an evening of poetry on the theme of natural history to celebrate National Poetry Day 2018 (4 October), entitled Infinite Forms. Back Room Poets and friends will be reading a selection of newly written poetry inspired by the museum’s collections. An open mic at the end of the event will offer the opportunity to others who would like to read their own poems inspired by natural history.

Stanza Two members are cordially invited to participate in the themed reading and also in an introductory visit to the Museum on 5 September (spaces for the introductory visit are limited).  If you are interested in both or only in the reading, please send a mail to brp.committee(at) or otherwise contact organizers Inge Milfull or Sarah Watkinson.

Details for the reading Infinite Forms:

Time and date: Thursday, 4 October 2018, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Venue: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW
Free entry, for tickets see:

Reading and Workshop with Jane Draycott and Veronica Beedham’s book launch (10 March)

Back Room Poets present a poetry reading featuring Jane Draycott and also featuring the launch of Veronica Beedham‘s pamphlet A Sense of Place (Overton Prize 2016), with Back Room Poets members  Mark Leech and David Olsen.

Saturday March 10th, 2018 at 7PM
Friends Meeting House 43 St Giles, Oxford. OX1 3LW
Entrance £ 4.00 (£2.00 BRP Members)

Workshop with Jane Draycott
A workshop will take place from 3-6pm at the Friends Meeting House (43 St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LW), also on 10 March.
There will be an upper limit of 14 full participants (that is, with poems to be workshopped), although it will be possible for others interested to attend as audience-only.

Please submit your poems for consideration by email to Agnes Kocsis at by 20 February. Poems can be on any theme. They will be selected with a view to obtaining a good balance for productive discussion as well as quality. You will be notified of your poem having been selected by email.

The fees will be: full participation (workshopping a poem): £20 (concessionary rate for BRP members: £15); participation as audience-only: £5. All fees to be paid on the door on the day.

Reading with Tony Curtis

Back Room Poets present:
a poetry reading featuring 
Tony Curtis
with John Daniel, Louise Larchbourne, Gina Wilson and Merryn Williams
Thursday 12th October, 2017 at 7:30 pm
at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore (34 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AA)
Admission: £ 4.00 (BRP Members £ 2.00)

Two Upcoming Events in March

3 March

Jennifer McGowan’s new collection With Paper for Feet will be launched by Arachne Press in Oxford on Friday 03/03/2017 at 7.30 at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore.

About the collection: With Paper for Feet is themed and narrative, drawing together Jennifer A. McGowan’s poetry of myth and folktale, and the frailties – human and otherwise – behind them. With Paper for Feet explores, mostly from a female perspective, the guts it takes to live or – often -die, un-heroically. her characters laugh, argue,  complain, suffer, curse, aware that more is expected of them, but unwilling to play up. Jennifer explores many voices including the women of Troy & many of Shakespeare’s characters, as well as poems based in other cultures including France, Africa & China.

17 March

Back Room Poets & Members of the University Church Choir in:
The Pity of War
Reflections, memories & experiences of war and its aftermath.
In support of Parkinson’s UK Oxford branch and the Endeavour Fund for wounded soldiers.
Devised by Jenyth Worsley with Louise Larchbourne, Elizabeth Birchall, Mark Leech, Inge Milfull, David Olsen, Merryn Williams, Gina Wilson and Felix Leach, Julia Hollander, Lucy Matheson, Katie McMullin (Harp), Peter McMullin.

Guest Reader: Paul Mayhew Archer

Venue: University Church of St Mary the Virgin
High Street, Oxford. OX1 4BJ

Time: 7:30pm Friday 17 March, 2017

Entry: £ 15.00, Concessions £10.00
at the door, or from

Reading with Kieron Winn tomorrow

Back Room Poets present a poetry reading
featuring Kieron Winn, reading from his collection The Mortal Man
with Rip Bulkeley, David Olsen, Sarah Watkinson and Pat Winslow
Friday 3rd February, 2017 at 7:30 pm
at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore (34 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AA).
Admission: £ 4.00 (BRP Members £ 2.00)
Clive James on Kieron Winn’s work:
‘The level of craft in these poems is a delight. Meticulous balancing means that a seemingly straightforward line rides on a wave of its own music, and the stanza jump (it needs a name: the hitch-kick?) has redoubled force when a line is succeeded only after a deep pause for breath. Larkin, of course, was a master of that manoeuvre, but Winn’s version of it is all his, and particularly seductive in its timing, like a pause and glide in a well-danced tango.’
Clive James

Back Room Poets host seminar and reading with Seán Street on 23 July

Seminar Sound, Time and Space – into the Universe of the Imagination,

with Seán Street on 23 July (3:30-5pm) at the Oxford Friends Meeting House.

Sound and poetry are linked, because voice is sound, and poetry grows out of the human voice. In this seminar Seán Street will explore ways of taking this further, and focus consciously on making sound an even more imaginative component in our work as poets.

There will also be a reading with Séan Street on 23rd July at the Oxford Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles at 7.30pm.

It is possible to attend the seminar and the reading separately. Those who wish to attend both will receive a discount on the combined entry fee.

If you would like to attend the seminar with Seán Street, could you email:

Seán Street is a poet, a broadcaster and a writer of works that explore the philosophical nature of sound. He is Emeritus Professor at Bournemouth University.

His website is here:

For more details on these events see the updates on our website:–news.html

Reading with Philip Gross on Saturday

Back Room Poets present a poetry reading featuring Philip Gross, reading from his latest collection Love Songs of Carbon.

Also reading will be Paul Surman, Sarah Watkinson, Jenyth Worsley and Stephen Yeo.

Time: Saturday 20 February at 7:00 pm
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LW.

No admission charge, but there will be a collection for Oxford Friends Action on Poverty

See previous post for details of the masterclass with Philip Gross  on the afternoon of 20 February

Workshop and Reading with Philip Gross on the 20th of February, 2016

There will be a workshop with Philip Gross between 2-5 pm, followed by a reading at 7pm, at the Friends Meeting House on Saturday the 20th of February (organized by Back Room Poets in collaboration with Stephen Yeo).

Philip Gross says of the workshop:
“Our physical bodies are where we live, what we are, in the world. There’s no avoiding them. Our senses are how we experience the world, our viewpoint from the place and age and state of health we’re in. For this masterclass, I am inviting poems that speak from or in awareness of the body, even if not directly about it. Other poems are not excluded, though I might give first place in the queue to ones that respond to this challenge, which simply points to one of the enduring sources of good poetry. ”

The workshop will cost £ 20.00 (including one year’s membership of Back Room Poets for non-members) or £ 15.00 for members or the unemployed.
Alternatively, £ 5.00 to be part of the audience (without submitting a poem).
Payments for full participation can be made by Paypal to or by cheque made out to Back Room Poets sent to Mr Matt Bright at 105 Gypsy Lane, Oxford. OX3 7PU.
If paying by Paypal, please send the transaction number to Agnes at her email address shown below (or simply forward the confirmation email), so we can identify the payment.
Audience members may pay at the door.
There will be a maximum of 18 poems considered. The deadline for submissions is January 31st. If you want to participate, please contact Agnes Kocsis on

Philip will respond in writing to any poems that he is not able to discuss in detail during the masterclass.

The following is a brief biography of Philip:
Philip Gross is a poet, a playwright, librettist and writer for children. He won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009 with The Water Table, and Wales Book of The Year 2010 with I Spy Pinhole Eye. Recent collections Deep Field and Later dealt with his Estonian refugee father’s final years and loss of language. Philip leads the MPhil/PhD in Writing programme at the University of South Wales. His latest collaboration, A Fold In The River, with artist Valerie Coffin Price, appeared from Seren in March, and a new collection from Bloodaxe, Love Songs of Carbon, was a PBS Recommendation in September 2015.
See also his website: