2023 oxford poetry prize winners

28 nov 2023
Oxford Poetry Prize 2022 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Oxford Poetry Prize, judged by Will Harris. The winning poems will be published in issue 96 of Oxford Poetry.

first prize

Miruna Fulgeanu, ‘Esmerine’

Judge’s comments: A beautiful, pained poem whose elegiac ‘she’ hovers throughout, unresolved, an object that can’t be digested. The poet describes the gap in the maternal relationship so acutely that, in doing so, they hold up language itself to the light. ‘Esmerine’ manages to be heartfelt and self-aware, examining the flawed construction of poetic images and finding in them – for all they might be wanting – the raw potential for consolation.

Miruna Fulgeanu is a Romanian-born poet and translator based in London. Her work has appeared in Poetry London, The Yale Review, The Rialto, and the PROTOTYPE 2 anthology, among others.

second prize

Jo Davis, ‘Last Tuesday’

Judge’s comments: It’s so hard to be funny in a poem. There’s always the question of who you’re laughing at or with. But the ‘gallinaceous’ language of ‘Last Tuesday’ succeeds in rendering something true (and ridiculous) about genealogy, the languages of genetics and heritage, and familial relationships. It wears the armature of its argument so lightly you could forget it was there, and it laughs in spite of hurt and absence.

Jo Davis’s poetry has appeared in PN Review, The Rialto, Magma, and Ambit. She won third prize in the Ambit Poetry Competition and was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Prize and the Rialto Nature & Place Prize. She has guest-edited Tentacular Magazine and co-edited the Mays anthology at Cambridge, where she did her doctorate. Davis is involved as a researcher in efforts to improve healthcare equality. Her debut pamphlet, Ant-lion, is forthcoming from Against the Grain in 2024.

third prize

Eric Yip, ‘Ardently Love’

‘Ardently Love’ achieves the ideal ekphrastic balance of carefully elucidating a work of art (in this case, Untitled (Buffaloes) by David Wojnarowicz) and taking it in tonally new directions, making something new. A pitch-perfect account of the buffaloes in the photo – one ‘hurls its hull’ – gives way to an unexpected fable-like focus on the feelings of a cliff, all of it carried aloft by emotionally acute deadpan narration.

Eric Yip’s poetry and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Magma, and Best New Poets. He won the 2021 National Poetry Competition and was shortlisted for the 2023 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem – Written. He was a Poetry Society Young Critic in 2022. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he is currently based in Cambridge, UK, where he studies.

about the judge

Will Harris is a London-based writer. His debut poetry collection Rendang (2020) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He is currently a Visiting Poetry Fellow at UEA and helps facilitate the Southbank New Poets Collective with Vanessa Kisuule. His second book of poems, Brother Poem (2023), is published by Granta in the UK and Wesleyan in the US.

2023 oxford poetry prize shortlist

21 nov 2023
Oxford Poetry Prize 2023 Shortlist - Sheila Black, Caspar Bryant, Elena Croitoru, Jo Davis, Miruna Fulgeanu, Caitlyn Klum, Vanessa Lampert, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Cassie Minicucci, Neha Mulay, Oluwaseun Olayiwola, Georgio Russell, Georgia San Li, Raine Thompson, Matthew Woodman, Eric Yip

We’re pleased to share the shortlist for the 2023 Oxford Poetry Prize, judged by Will Harris. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. The winning poems will be announced soon.

Of the shortlist, judge Will Harris writes: ‘I loved all of these poems – among others which didn’t make the shortlist! So good. I feel bad I can’t place them on the podium, but I hope all the poets included in this list know their work is incredible – really – and that there are no actual podiums in art, only the arbitrary shifting impositions of taste which briefly quell the terror of reading new, unknown, strange, brilliant work like this.’

2023 oxford poetry prize – open now

15 may 2023
Will Harris Oxford Poetry

Siqi Li

Oxford Poetry hosts the annual Oxford Poetry Prize, awarded for a single poem in the English language. The guest judge for 2023 is Will Harris.

The winner of the Prize receives £1,000, the runner-up £200, and third place £100. Winning poets are also offered publication in Oxford Poetry. This year’s competition opens on Monday, 15 May and closes at midnight utc on Thursday, 31 August 2023.

Will Harris is a London-based writer. His debut poetry collection Rendang (2020) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He is currently a Visiting Poetry Fellow at UEA and helps facilitate the Southbank New Poets Collective with Vanessa Kisuule. His second book of poems, Brother Poem (2023), is published by Granta in the UK and Wesleyan in the US.

The terms and conditions of entry to the Prize are available here, and you can read about last year’s competition and the winning and shortlisted poems below.

Announcing Issue 95

1 may 2023
Oxford Poetry Issue 95

Our spring 2023 issue, number 95, features poems by Jay Gao, Paul Stephenson, Kizziah Burton, Emesowum Chidozie George, Ruby Silk, Ellora Sutton, Brian Gyamfi, Dominic Leonard, Caleb Leow, Lily Blacksell, John Wedgwood Clarke, Sarah Corney, Mark Fiddes, Anastasia K. Gates, Katie Hartsock, Lucy Hurst, Laetitia Keok, Nicky Kippax, George Lynch, Luisa Muradya, Yaz Nin, Linda Ravenswood, Lydia Unsworth, and Xuela Zhang.

Jay Gao reviews Victoria Adukwei Bulley’s Quiet. Rowland Bagnall reviews Jana Prikryl’s Midwood. And Eliza Tewson reviews Lucy Mercer’s Emblem.

Anina Takeff created the cut-out artworks that accompany the reviews, and as usual we worked with Studio Lamont to design, typeset, and produce the issue. The front cover features lines from Ellora Sutton’s poem ‘House of the Faun’ and a marbled paper design by Natalie Stopka.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new issue. You can purchase a copy here. If you’d like to support the magazine, please consider subscribing.

2022 oxford poetry prize winners

1 nov 2022
Oxford Poetry Prize 2022 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Oxford Poetry Prize, judged by Emily Berry. All winning poems will be published in issue 95 of Oxford Poetry.

first prize
Dominic Leonard, ‘My Grandfather
Goes to the Bathroom’

second prize
Linda Ravenswood, ‘Elementary School’

third prize
Caleb Leow, ‘Tongues’

Kizziah Burton, ‘The World She Crossed the World to Find’
Jay Gao, ‘Split Ends’
Brian Gyamfi, ‘Horseradish’

judge's comments

The winning poem, ‘My Grandfather Goes to the Bathroom’ by Dominic Leonard, caught my attention early in the process for its unexpected title, which turns out to be gently humorous against a poem that is a beautifully sad and tender reflection on the failing body of a loved one as he stands in ‘the bright gap of life’. There was a lot of tenderness in the poems I was drawn to in this competition – perhaps that’s just what I’m looking for right now (perhaps that’s what we’re all looking for). Linda Ravenswood’s ‘Elementary School’, a wry take on the sins of patriarchy, is nonetheless abundantly tender – a ‘sweet song of forgiveness [that] shocks the night with its beauty’, while in Caleb Leow’s ‘Tongues’ (a poem haunted by the spirit of another grandfather), the voice of God, ‘who suddenly makes me feel like I know him’, tenderly coaxes the narrator into speech. Tenderest congratulations to all the poets. – Emily Berry

about the winners

Dominic Leonard’s pamphlets, love, bring myself (2019) and Dirt (2021) are published by Broken Sleep. He lives and teaches in London.

Linda Ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles. Her new collection Cantadora: Letters from California (Black Spring Press Group) is forthcoming in January 2023. Recent collections include XLA Poets (Hinchas Press) and The Stan Poems (Pedestrian Press). She is founding editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Press.

Caleb Leow is an emerging poet from Singapore. His poems have been recognised in the Bridport Prize, the New Poets Prize, and the National Poetry Competition. He studies History and French at the University of Oxford.

Kizziah Burton won second prize in the 2020 Ledbury Poetry Competition, was commended in the 2021 National Poetry Competition, shortlisted for the 2022 Bridport Prize, and longlisted for the 2022 Sappho Prize. She holds a Master’s in fiction writing from the University of Southern California.

Jay Gao is the author of Imperium (Carcanet, 2022) and three poetry pamphlets. He is a Contributing Editor at The White Review. He won the 2022 Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction and the 2021 London Magazine Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2022 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Originally from Edinburgh, he earned his mfa at Brown University and is a phd student at Columbia University in New York City.

Brian Gyamfi is a Ghanaian-American writer from Arlington, Texas. In 2020 he received the University of Texas at Austin’s Student Writing Flag Award, and in 2022 the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Graduate Poetry Award, Michael R. Gutterman Award in Poetry, and Helen S. and John Wagner Prize. He graduated summa cum laude from UT Austin and is currently a Rackham Merit Scholar at the University of Michigan.

about the judge

Emily Berry is the author of the poetry books Unexhausted Time (2022), Stranger, Baby (2017) and Dear Boy (2013), published by Faber. Her lyric essay ‘The Secret Country of Her Mind’ appears in the limited edition artist's book Many Nights (2021) by Jacqui Kenny.

2022 oxford poetry prize shortlist

27 oct 2022
Oxford Poetry Prize 2022 Shortlist

We’re pleased to present the shortlist for the 2022 Oxford Poetry Prize, judged by Emily Berry. We’re extremely grateful to everyone who entered the competition – it means the world to us. The winners will be revealed soon.

Announcing issue 94

14 oct 2022
Oxford Poetry 94

Issue 94 features new work by Kit Fan, Nancy Campbell, Oluwaseun Olayiwola, and Kathleen Ossip, among many others. The marbled cover is by Maisie Brett, and the lines on the cover are from Lara Frankena’s ‘On an Inclement Evening’ (which you can find on page 13). There are essays on Black Ekphrasis and on the tapestries of Hannah Ryggen.

Anina Takeff created the cut-out artworks that accompany our essays and reviews, and we worked with Studio Lamont to design, typeset, and produce the issue.

We hope you enjoy reading our latest issue! You can purchase a copy here. If you’d like to support the magazine, please subscribe here.

Announcing Issue 93

28 feb 2022
Oxford Poetry 93

Our new issue is currently making its way to doorsteps and postboxes around the world. It features poems by Pierre Joris, Sasha Dugdale, Jamie McKendrick, Pam Rehm, Romeo Oriogun, and Nkosi Nkululeko, among others.

Nkululeko’s poem ‘Square’ wraps around a mid-game chessboard, a clue to the multilinear order in which the poem can be read, a form the poet calls a ‘contrapuntal’. Nkululeko’s other poem in this issue, ‘The Area of a Parallelogram’, is constructed with stacked rhombus-shaped stanzas. The poem interrogates blackness, collective identity, citizenship, and inequality: ‘In a mirror, I’m dressed / as that whom vanishes me.’ The poem pulls off that strange trick of being both dense and light at the same time, like a boulder hovering a foot above your head, miraculous and disturbing.

‘Think Hardy, but with a vagina, and also he is an alien’. Marianne MacRae’s poem ‘★★★★☆’ is delivered in the style of an online product review, but playfully subverts our expectations of the genre. It’s a poem made almost entirely of surprising turns, or turnings inside-out, and it ends with a strange and memorable line about History.

Emily Bludworth de Barrios’s spellbinding, quicksilver poem ‘A ghost is what you call a women’ opens our issue. As in a fairytale, the domestic and the supernatural seem to bleed at their edges. In the process, the domestic categories that seek to define a woman lose their potency within a language re-enfranchised with mysticical possibility. ‘Her soul / Like cool wind / Skirts around the bodies of her children’.

The issue also features translations by Sue Vickerman, whose Englishing of Brecht retains the bright clarity and quiet wit of the original, and whose translations of haikus by Jan Wagner are wonderfully clipped and lucid.

There’s tonnes more fresh and surprising work in this issue by Lizzie Hutton, Kristian Doyle, Ivan Hobson, Janine Bradbury, Angus Strachan, Polchate Kraprayoon, Tristram Fane Saunders, Sean Cho A, Rosa Campbell, and Jacob Mckibbin, as well as reviews of Jorie Graham’s Runaway by Rowland Bagnall and New Poetries VIII by Michael Black.

Our cover is happily wrapped in a marbled paper design by Stephen Pittelkow, accompanied by an excerpt from Ali Lewis’s brilliant poem ‘Leisure on a Red Background’, which can be read inside. We collaborated again with the illustrator Anina Takeff to create cut-out artworks for our reviews pages, and we worked with Studio Lamont to design, typeset, and produce the issue.

We hope you enjoy reading our latest instalment! You can purchase a copy here. If you’d like to support the magazine, please subscribe here.

new editor of oxford poetry

9 june 2021

Luke Allan has been appointed the new editor of Oxford Poetry. Luke joined the magazine as co-editor in 2018 and his first issue as sole editor will be issue 93, published autumn 2021.

An innovative publisher and editor, Luke co-founded the poetry magazines Butcher’s Dog, Pain, and Quait, and is former managing editor at Carcanet Press and PN Review. He grew up in Northumberland and studied English literature and creative writing at the Universities of East Anglia and Oxford. He is currently an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book.

Luke writes: ‘Oxford Poetry has been thriving for over a century not because it has remained the same but because it has kept on changing. I’m humbled and excited by the opportunity to shape the next small part of the magazine’s long history. As editor my priorities will be social inclusivity, ecological responsibility, and—that thing we forget to say we care about—the reader’s pleasure.’

Luke has already instigated some changes to the magazine, including a redesign of the print edition and website, as well as the introduction of new environmental standards. In the coming months, he will expand the editorial team and develop the magazine’s digital offering.

Luke takes the reins from his co-editors Jay Bernard, Mary Jean Chan, and Theophilus Kwek, who will continue to work with the magazine as contributing editors.

Outgoing co-editor Theophilus Kwek writes: ‘Since joining the team in 2016, putting together each issue of Oxford Poetry has been humbling and fulfilling in equal measure. I’m grateful for the friendship and support of my co-editors over the past five years, and am excited to see the magazine enter its next phase with as astute and capable an editor as Luke Allan.’

Outgoing co-editor Mary Jean Chan writes: ‘It’s been a privilege to have co-edited Oxford Poetry alongside Nancy Campbell and Theophilus Kwek since 2016, and later alongside Jay Bernard as well. The magazine is now in safe and capable hands, and I can’t wait to see what Luke Allan and Partus Press will do with—and for—Oxford Poetry in the years to come.’

Announcing Issue 92

24 april 2021
Oxford Poetry 92

We are inordinately excited to bring you issue 92 of Oxford Poetry. We’ve given the magazine a fresh lick of paint and some new wheels, and have been tinkering under the hood too. Read on! (Guaranteed no more car metaphors.)

new publisher Last summer we joined forces with the incredible Partus Press. Their support gives us access to all sorts of systems and tools that will help us to grow and be more sustainable longterm.

new design We’ve collaborated with some very talented people on our redesign. The overall design is by Studio Lamont, who also typeset the poems. Anina Takeff created a series of bespoke cut-out artworks, which appear inside. And we commissioned expert paper marbler Rachel Maiden to produce the marble design for the dustjacket. The lines on the front cover of the new issue, by the way, are from Elle Heedles’s poem ‘Respite’, which you can read inside.

the environment It’s important to us that we publish responsibly and sustainably, so we’ve been working closely with our printer to introduce some new ecological standards. All our paper is now either fsc or Rainforest Alliance certified, and is free of heavy metals, acid, and elemental chlorine. The ink we use contains no mineral oil or cobalt, and, like the metallic foil on the front cover, is certified non-hazardous by the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances. On top of that, we’ve teamed up with Trees for Life to help us offset our carbon footprint—for each new issue, beginning with this one, we’ll plant three trees. You can keep tabs on our planting here.

wait, 92? Oh, and we’ve moved from the old ‘volume:issue’ format, first adopted by the magazine in 1983, to a simpler, and hopefully more meaningful, system of absolute numbering. Farewell xviii.ii, hello 92.

Finally, and very importantly, you can get hold of a copy of our new issue here. Happy motoring!