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This is the blog of Oxford University Poetry Society, where you can get up-to-date news about our upcoming events and poetry readings, dates of poetry workshops, read contributors' poetry, and try a hand at writing your own...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Apply for the OUPS Committee!

OUPS Committee

It's that time of year again when we must lamentably pass on the poetry baton. If you think you've got what it takes to be on the OUPS committee and carry on spreading the poetry love throughout Oxford next year, then apply!

Below is an approximate outline of the positions we'll be looking to appoint, although depending on the individuals who apply we may or may not shuffle around some of the duties, merge positions together, appoint more than one person to a position, etc. But for now, this is what next year's committee will roughly look like:


The big job. It's the president's responsibility to organise the termcards (so awareness of the current poetry scene is a must, and if you've got connections, even better), host events, liaise with guest speakers and generally run the ship. The president really needs to be sociable, happy with public speaking and very, very committed.


Because the role of President can be so time-consuming, we may or may not appoint a vice-president to be on call to assist in liaising with guest speakers, taking care of them and so on, and generally filling in for the President when necessary.


If you want to get involved and play a vital part in running the society, but don't necessarily want to get on stage, this is the job for you. The secretary is in charge of the admin: sending the weekly emails, updating the mailing list, archiving lists of members and taking the minutes at meetings. It's a big job and the secretary needs to be committed but above all, super-organised.


OUPS is a fairly low-budget society so every penny counts. It's the treasurer's job to keep accounts, look after the bank account and pay poets, but also to come up with ideas for money-saving/money-making. If you're that rare combination of poetry-loving and number-crunching, OUPS will be ever-grateful for your help.


This is the most autonomous of the OUPS positions; the ASH editor is mostly left to their own devices to take submissions and produce our termly magazine, and also is mainly responsible for the selling of it. Good poetic taste is a must. If you have any questions email the current editor, Sophie, at sophie.yeo@ccc.ox.ac.uk.


We may or may not split this position into two: print publicity manager and online publicity manager. Either way the posters must get made and the society's web presence must be felt. If you think you could design beautiful posters/flyers, and/or make our web site (www.oxfordpoetry.blogspot.com) spectacular, and even have other ideas for how to generate publicity, then apply.


The weekly poetry workshops are a long-standing and much-loved part of the OUPS package. We need someone who is able to commit to an evening a week and is capable of running a workshop, directing discussion, giving constructive criticism etc. This may or may not be combined with any of the other positions.


/Creative Directer. The Live Events Manager is responsible for coming up with and organising 'special' events, i.e. other than the weekly readings, but will still have to work in close contact with the President. The main one-off event is Poetry Out Loud, our annual recitation competiton, but also writing competitions, joint events with other societies, socials and so on all need to get organised.

If these all sound a bit scary, never fear: this year's committee will still be around next year to show the new committee the ropes. It is a lot of work, but it's great fun as well and, let's face it, looks pretty good on the old CV.

So if you think you have what it takes, here's what happens now:

- Send an email to tess.somervell at chch.ox.ac.uk, listing which position/s you're interested in applying for, numbering them according to preference if you wish. Applying for more than one position will not jeopardise your chances at getting your first choice of position. Give a paragraph or so for each position describing why you'd be perfect for that role, and any ideas you have for what you'd do in that position next year.

- Do this by noon on Friday 28th May, that's Friday of 5th week.

- We'll then organise short interviews, probably to held on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday of 6th week.

- Taking into account the interviews and application emails, we'll appoint the new committee! And let everyone know early in 7th week.

Good luck!

Wednesday Workshop Poetry 2

another attempt

purgatory flames marshmallows – tulip seeds pressed ornaments – panting clouds ruptured – and the sliced tunnel: trustless standing view of look its nose abiding a spinning top. golden lyre rightful possession of violet-haired muses deep-sounding thunderer of brandished spears your last hopping there see in exhaustion the hare a spinning top flaming. round they dance pink sugar roast brown spitting this is important spitting ornaments. sliced then distributed everyone gets a share refreshed a chewing gum! up up now if you run I can still catch the bus they see me pressing closer; as you turn the spit watering lemon cake irony.

royal jelly.


Samuel Meister, Univ College

Wednesday Workshop Poetry

The Wednesday Workshop is dedicated to helping poets hone their craft. We find ways to improve drafts of poems, and become better writers together. The group feedback workshop style encourages not just discussion, but revision, and we’ve included some ‘before’ and ‘after’ drafts of some of our talented poets who attend the workshop. Sign up to the OUPS Facebook group to receive updates and come out and see for yourself!

These two are both by Arabella Currie, second year Classicist at Balliol.

BEFORE draft

Boa Sr has died

When the wave came down upon them
Boa Sr climbed. The elders told us the earth
would part. Don’t run away or move.
From her tree she could see it all.
Underneath, dogs and children
and stoves and walls and bicycles
flowed slowly past. Her roots dug deep.
Afterwards, she climbed down
and stood on the damp sand.
She looked at branchless trees and a still sea.
She didn’t say anything.

The dry syllables of the language
which in six years would die with her death
lay on her tongue.
She bit her lip and pushed the words
against the inside of her teeth.

AFTER workshop-draft

Boa Sr

In memory of a survivor of the Tsunami and the last speaker of Bo

When the wave came down upon them
Boa Sr climbed.
The elders told her the earth
would part. Don't move or run away.
The wave broke with a heavy sound.
From her tree she looked
as dogs and children
and stoves and walls and bicycles
flowed slowly past. Her roots clung.

Afterwards, she climbed down
and sat on the damp sand,
arms folded around her knees.
She saw branchless trees and a still sea.
She didn't say a thing.

Six years later, the dry syllables
of her language would die with her death.
Now they lay on her tongue.
She bit her lip and pushed the words
against the inside of her teeth.


The White Ship

This is the rock that sunk the White Ship.
No rock ever sunk such a ship, before or after,
and no ship ever brought so much misery to England.
So many men, sea beaten.
Stretched on the shore like thirsty seal pups,
salt deep in them. Only one left breathing.
A butcher from Rouen. Saved by his warm ramskins
and by the fishermen who saw him twitching,
and saw pale sheep start grazing on his wishbone.



This is the rock that sunk the White Ship.
No ship ever brought such misery to England
and no rock ever sunk such a ship,
before or after.

All those men, sea-beaten,
stretched on the shore
like seal pups, salt deep in them.

Only one left breathing. A butcher from Rouen,
saved by the fishermen who saw him twitching -
saw pale sheep begin to graze on his wishbone.