First Event of 2021!

On Sunday 10th January, at 6.45pm, Stanza 2 poets Caroline Houlston-Jackson, Bill Jenkinson and Carl Tomlinson will be joining the Barnes and Hardy Societies in a celebration of the work of William Barnes and Thomas Hardy, to be hosted, thanks to Mike Hobbs and the Beckley & Area Community Benefit Society, on the Abingdon Arms’ Zoom site:

Taking us through the seasons, readers and musicians from Dorset will perform poems and prose by Barnes and Hardy, including Barnes’ well-known ‘Linden Lea’ – which was set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. In addition, Oxfordshire poets will read their own poems, inspired by Barnes, Hardy and the seasons. 

A Dorset Year.jpg

For your Zoom access link, please go to

Saturday March 7th: Furnace, Forge and Kiln – Firing the wood

A day of celebration of the artistic uses of Wytham Woods with archaeologist Peter Hommel, guest poet Joe Butler and a poetry workshop led by Romola Parish, has been rescheduled and will run from 9.30 to 15. 30 on Saturday 7 March.

Programme Outline*

9.30am – Participants meet in Wytham Woods Main Car Park: Introduction by Romola Parish, then walk up to the Wytham Chalet.

10.00am – Meet Pete Hommel, archaeologist, for a smelting demonstration. (Or a fuller talk about current research in Archaeological Science in case of wet weather).

12.30pm – Lunch break at the Chalet (please bring a packed lunch**).

1.15pm – Poetry workshop led by Romola Parish, with readings by guest poet Joe Butler.

3.30pm – Close & Walk back to Wytham Woods Car Park.

* Timings flexible

**Tea & coffee making facilities are available, and biscuits will be provided.

To book via Eventbrite go here To visit Joe Butler’s website go here

Hurry! Your unmissable Oxfordshire showcase for poetry: 8th Woodstock Poetry Festival – this weekend!

Friday to Sunday 15 – 17 November 2019

For tickets and information: 01993 812760 or

Festival ticket giving entry to all events – £60. Children & students half price. Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events.

Friday’s readings are held in St Mary Magdalene Church; Saturday & Sunday readings take place upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall.

The final event is in Woodstock Social Club where drinks are available very reasonably from the bar


7pm Hugo Williams reads from Lines Off, his first collection since 2014, written following transplant surgery – ‘haunting, shining, untidy poems… vivid with emotion and experience’ (Fiona Sampson, Spectator); ‘Williams has a gift for making poetry read as effortlessly as conversation – a huge accomplishment’ (Kate Kellaway, Guardian). £10 (Wine and sandwiches will be served between this and the following reading and a joint ticket for the evening is available at £15)

8.30pm Kei Miller reads from In Nearby Bushes, his highly anticipated new collection that explores his strangest landscape yet – the placeless place. Here is a world in which it is possible both to hide and to heal, a landscape as much marked by magic as it is by murder. His previous collection won the Forward Prize. £10


5.30pm Niall Campbell & Vidyan Ravinthiram, published by Bloodaxe, are shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize. Both collections start from the domestic – Campbell’s Noctuary, a diary for late hours, reflects on fatherhood; The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here began as personal sonnets for Ravinthiran’s wife. £10

7pm Patrick McGuinness & Giorgia Sensi, poetry in translation. Giorgia Sensi has translated many British poets into Italian, including Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Gillian Clarke and Kathleen Jamie. She and Patrick McGuinness discuss Déjà-vu, her parallel-text edition of his poems. £8

8.30pm Julia Copus & Jane Clarke. In Girlhood (‘this phenomenal collection’, Kate Kellaway, Observer) Julia Copus exposes the shifting power balance between things on the verge of becoming and the forces that threaten to destroy them. Jane Clarke’s second collection with Bloodaxe, When the Tree Falls, bears witness to the rhythms of birth and death, celebration and mourning, endurance and regrowth. £10


2pm Laureate’s Choice – Faith Lawrence, followed by Open mic. A chance to hear one of the poets selected by Carol Ann Duffy read from her new pamphlet Sleeping Through. Faith is a producer on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. Open mic is introduced by Jenny Lewis of The Poet’s House, Oxford. This popular platform for local and unpublished poets is open to all but should be booked in advance. The format is informal and supportive – we welcome first-time readers. Please email the bookshop if you would like to read. £6

4.30pm Hannah Sullivan & Mary Jean Chan. Mary Jean Chan’s first collection Flèche has just been published by Faber: ‘Sparkling and vulnerable… the arrival of an essential new voice’ – Sarah Howe. Hannah Sullivan was the winner of last year’s T.S. Eliot Prize for Three Poems, her first collection: ‘ A magnificent debut…challenging the parameters of what poetry can do’ – Sinead Morrissey. £10

6.30pm Raymond Antrobus reads from The Perseverance, winner of the Ted Hughes award and the Rathbones Folio prize, shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize: ‘…an insightful, frank and intimate rumination on language, identity, heritage, loss and the art of communication. Ranging from tender elegies about his father to frank interrogations of deafness, Antrobus highlights the persistence of memory and our need to connect’ – Malika Booker. £10

8.30pm Legendary folk singer and songwriter Peggy Seeger joins poets Bernard O’Donoghue & Tom Paulin with Judith & Nick Hooper (fiddle and guitar) for the welcome return of our final session – an evening of music and poetry. Both poets have published many poetry collections with Faber. Tom Paulin is also well known for his appearances on BBC’s Newsnight Review, and his readings of the poetry of W.B. Yeats; Bernard O’Donoghue is currently translating Piers Plowman. This event is held in Woodstock Social Club. £10

Reading and Workshop at the Quaker Meeting House, 12 October

at 43 St Giles  Oxford

Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders will read from their book A PART OF THE MAIN: A CONVERSATION (Mulfran, 2019), a dialogic poem, even an improvisation, born of the difficult feelings and public discord arising from the events of 2016.
Philip is a Quaker as well as a T.S.Eliot prize winner and author of 20 collections of poems.
Lesley is author of several books of poetry, most recently Nominy-Dominy  (Two Rivers Press, 2018). She is a creative collaborator with many other ‘makers’ of  different art forms.
Lesley and Philip first met through a collaborative poetry venture A Game of Consequences in which 26 poets were invited to share their thoughts and feelings about living in a nuclear age.

This reading will be at 6.30 for 7pm till 9pm on Sat. October 12th
For the reading: free admission +  a collection (for the Quaker Meeting House)  + refreshments

On the afternoon of the same day, Back Room Poets present a poetry workshop with Philip Gross:
Renga: When poetry grows in the spaces between us
The workshop will explore collaboration in poetry through linked verses in the spirit of haiku.
Saturday 12 October, 2019, 2.30-5.00pm
Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles,
Oxford, OX1 3LW
For more details on the workshop and how to sign up, please go to the Events page of the Back Room Poets website.

Poetry Reading: Truth or truths

On the evening of Sunday 6 October, Back Room Poets are hosting an event at which local poets have been invited to read poems on the National Poetry Day subject of Truth or a truth.

There will also be an open mic section and a writing challenge with prompts.

Entry is free.

Some refreshments will be available.

St. Hilda’s College has kindly allowed us to use one of their rooms and the venue will be signed from the college entrance.

Doors open at 6pm.

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)