Albums of the Year, 2011

Commodore Record Shop, New York, 1947

December is the season of three things: Christmas, bloggers making lists of stuff they like and bloggers complaining about other bloggers making lists of stuff they like. Me, I like a list.

Casual Reader beware, with the exception of The Mountain Goats, I haven’t seen ANY of the albums below on other end-of-year lists, and none of them are massive artists in the UK, so you may not have heard of them. It crossed my mind that this may look like I’m being contrary to the prevailing wisdom by not listing more widely acclaimed records. I’m not. I’ve chosen the music that excites me, not the music that others agree is cool.

They’re obscure, but accessible, entertaining and emotionally engaging so if anything piques your interest have a listen: a playlist link is below.

Please leave your comments/disagreements/own list below the line, I always like to read them when people do.


5) Chilly Gonzales – The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales

Undoubtedly the best classical-hip-hop hybrid album produced by a Canadian emigrant in France all year (GO ON INTERNET PROVE ME WRONG), The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales gave hip-hop a blaze of orchestral glory. The album delivers at every level – an inventive and eccentric orchestra record; a witty, vocally dexterous rap record. But the two sounds also compliment each other. After all, why wouldn’t they? Hip-hop is all about pulling all sorts of things out of the music box and spinning them round til they break – why not cello and piano? Like most art that reaches ahead of the trends, this album speaks to itself (and to other art) way too much. But thank god it lets us listen.


4) Ane Brun – It All Starts with One

Swedish pop music is some of the best in the world and their most striking export this year (to my ears at least) is by Norwegian emigrant Ane Brun. The lyrics are ridiculously slight – like a hesitant, unreciprocated conversation, answered only by wind-swept instrumentals and, later on, pounding storm-like drums. I don’t think it undersells the work of either to say that Brun will come over to most British listeners like a slower, gentler Florence + The Machine, albeit with more depth both musically and emotionally. Some reviews felt this album was too managed, not free enough – there is a certain rigidness but for me this only helps measure the distance between the singer and her estranged subject.


3) The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

Most other write-ups are claiming this to be the eighteenth studio album from the John Darnielle-fronted American acoustic rock band The Mountain Goats. It’s a hard number to measure amongst their early lo-fi tapes and other almost-albums, but who am I to disagree? Darnielle revisits many old themes on this record, particularly mythology – used how it’s meant to be used, as an allegory, psychological prism and emotional crutch. Mythology here meets a bit of mysticism, a bit of a’cappella barbershop (yes, they went there) and even a big old panoramic piano ballad – ‘Never Quite Free’, both one of the best and most populist songs the band have recorded to date.


2) Eliza Carthy – Neptune

An artist I’ve already written much about this year, Eliza Carthy not only had a storming year of live shows, but also made one of its most exciting albums. Bringing in influences from all over the place – folk, motown, jazz – and, more importantly, using them all in just the right places, no album I heard in 2011 was as varied and, one a purely instrumental level, as exciting as Neptune. There was a time a few years ago when all sorts of multi-instrumental arrangements were becoming really fashionable all over the place – in pop, punk, everywhere. I liked that trend. I like albums that just throw every musical trick they’ve got at something, keep whatever sticks and adds some backing vocals. This is one of the best.


1) Akira the Don – The Life Equation

It’s hard, most people think, to make art that’s happy, that’s optimistic, to make entertainment, excitement, fun and to still make it serious and weighty. Luckily, not everyone thinks this way – some people with serious stuff to say also like Manga comics and pop records and computer games. Akira the Don makes music as exciting and colourful as his various (and multifarious) influences and this year he completed the second record that he seems happy for people to call a proper studio album (he does an inexhaustible amount of collaborations, singles and mixtapes the rest of the time).

Akira is known as a rapper, but The Life Equation feels more like a pop album to me, with a very old fashioned foot-tapping sensibility propping up its rhythms – due in part to the influence of co-producer Stephen Hague (a man whose varied CV includes albums by Robbie Williams, Mel C and New Order). It nicks stuff from all over the place, mixes it up and lets it rip, like a massive Transformer robot made from a load of worn-out cars: “No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s not what you do but how it’s done” sings Akira – even the very phrases he uses to talk about re-hashing are themselves conspicuously re-hashed.

Yes, the album has its moments of extreme corniness. But it’s Baz Luhrmann-esque – the showmanship that sells cliché back to you as vintage chic. And what is cliché, as Craig Arnold once asked, but a poem that won?


The Drive-in Bingo’s Songs of 2011 Spotify playlist featuring Nicki Minaj, Arctic Monkeys, Los Campesinos! and The Decemberists is now online.


Come back soon for AT LEAST TWO more end-of-year posts.


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Book Burner #3 – Panic on the Streets of London

I’ve spent the last three years writing essays as a university undergraduate. Every fortnight on this blog I’ll be burning off a little bit of that stock-pile, those bits and pieces that might interest the general or semi-academic reader, edited and formatted into short blog posts. Follow the ‘Book Burner’ posts for the full series.

Maps and fiction: the Olympic Park, Stratford

“Signs had lost their signifieds, the map symbols attached to nothing; building elevations were become empty fictions; London had to rebuild from the ground up – literally, visually, and conceptually.” – Cynthia Wall, writing about London after the Great Fire in her book The Literary and Cultural Spaces of Restoration London

In this blog post I want to sketch out the notes from a short presentation I made in the second year of my degree, which makes a pretty simple point, but one you might find interesting if you’re into your London history.

The map shown above is called A Plan of the City and Suburbs of London as fortified by Order of Parliament in the Years 1642 & 1643. It is typical of the cartography commissioned by the government in the period: each road has a consistent width, equal to roads of similar importance. Even the width of the Thames is consistent along the length of the river, a fiction if it were drawn now let alone in the mid-seventeenth century.

The government map values order, but that order is artificial. At least this is what Ogilby and Morgan thought. Ogilby and Morgan made a map called A Large and Accurate Map of the City of London: Ichnographically Describing all the Streets, Lanes, Alleys, Courts, Yards, Churches, Halls and Houses, &c. Actually Surveyed and Delineated. Quite a boast.

Here it is:

And here is a section of it:

It was publihsed in the 1670s and was one of the first popular maps after the Great Fire. Maps were fashionable items, used for novelty and recreation as much as navigation. It reacts against earlier maps (like the government one) in which, as Cynthia Wall describes, “the topographical spaces are cleared of visualized, imagined life”

The really remarkable thing about the map for me is that the nature of the new detail is, in its own way, pastoral. The flowing river. The inner city green spaces. And right there in the centre, the rows of trees.

This is interesting to a literature student for a number of reasons. One is that what is demonstrated in these maps is also demonstrated in literature. Many writers wrote literary “maps” or “tours” of London. In their work we sometimes see the city poet as pastoral muse or the city as a living organism. Here are two examples I think are pretty good:

“It is the Disaster of London, as to the Beauty of its Figure, that it is thus stretched out in Buildings, just as the Pleasure of every Builder, or Undertaker of Buildings, and as the Convenience of the People directs… this has spread the Face of it in a most straggling, confus’d Manner, out of all Shape, uncompact, and unequal; neither long or broad, round or square;” – Daniel Defoe, A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain

“Now the city being like a vast sea, full of gusts, fearful-dangerous shelves and rocks… as wanting her compass and her skilful pilot, myself, like another Columbus or Drake, acquainted with her rough entertainment and storms, have drawn you this chart or map for your guide” – Henry Peacham, The Art of Living in London

The cartography and the literature of the period have much in common – each of them maps the other.

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Book Burner #2 – Daniel Defoe’s Table Manners

I’ve spent the last three years writing essays as a university undergraduate. Every fortnight on this blog I’ll be burning off a little bit of that stock-pile, those bits and pieces that might interest the general or semi-academic reader, edited and formatted into short blog posts. Follow the ‘Book Burner’ posts for the full series.

Historically corroborable facts, figures, places named, proper nouns and meticulously researched historical events are all features of Defoe’s version of realism. This can be seen in his use of tables. The table is a structure that makes its way into Defoe’s prose from his journalistic work and keen study of economics. It figures both time and space in a form so inherently non-fictional that it must be indicative of a realistic mode.

But this does not mean to say that that realism can be readily trusted. For example Defoe gives us a table in Essay Upon Project in the section ‘On Seamen’.[1] It charts the costs that the navy will pay for various injuries that sailors might contract. The first column of numbers is the price for a one off payment, the second for an annual payment option:

An Eye            25           2

Both eyes        100         8

One leg            50           4

Both legs         80           6

Right Hand      80           6

And so on through another five items before a centralised explanatory note details such things as the maintenance paid to wives if their husbands should be: “Kill’d or Drown’d, 50 l.”

The list is so much of a curiosity for Defoe because of the odd and troubling collision of debilitating injury with formally stringent commodification. The narrator describes the system’s pragmatic function:

the claims to be Enter’d into the office, and upon sufficient Proof made, the Governors to Regulate the Division, and Publish it in Print

The language that Defoe employs very subtly exposes the dangerous lack of sentimentality of the table. What is “sufficient Proof” that one has lost a leg? The whole exercise is one that demands quantification where it does not rightfully belong. Note also the pun on “Division”, which is about division of money where division of limb from body would be more emotionally prominent (to say the least).

This is the framework in which a reader must tackle the abundance of tables in novels such as A Journal of the Plague Year. Here are the figures for the plague as it reaches its height over August and September:

                    Of all Diseases.    Of the Plague

Aug. 8 to Aug. 15   ——   5319   ——-   3880

                        to 22    ——   5568   ——-   4237

                        to 29    ——   7496   ——-   6102

Aug. 29 to Sept. 5   ——   8252   ——-   6988[2]

The table continues through five more periods of time, the death toll rising and then falling again by the middle of October.

The effects of the table are paradoxical: at once it demonstrates the scale of the crisis and the extent of a tragedy that would otherwise be confined to personal incidents. But at the same time the use of number is somehow reductive. The conversion of time and quantity to a table figures on the page in a space that artificially confines it.

What is the difference between the “5319” at the top of the first column and the “8252” three lines below it? On the page, very little. They have the same number of digits and broadly have the same effect on the reader. Grief does not escalate in proportion with the numbers. One does not feel roughly one and a half times as grieved at the number “8252” against “5319”. Yet roughly one and a half as many people have died from one period to another. The difference is two thousand, seven hundred and thirty three. Within the reality of the novel, each one of those people has lost their lives – and they each have their real life analogue in the horrific events of the real plague.

Tables are, in the end, analogous with the novel’s mass graves in which the dead are buried. They cannot accommodate them all and the bodies spill over onto the ground and into the surrounding prose.

[1] An Essay Upon Projects ‘On Seamen’ in Selected Writings Of Daniel Defoe Ed. James T Boulton (Cambridge, 1974)

[2] Defoe A Journal of a Plague Year Ed. Cynthia Wall (Penguin, 2003) p96

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Book Burner #1 – Montagues and Capulets and Banging Tunes and DJ Sets

I’ve spent the last three years writing essays. Every fortnight on this blog I’ll be burning off a little bit of that stock-pile, those bits and pieces that might interest the general or semi-academic reader. As ever, let know what you think in the comments, by email or on facebook/twitter.

When he approached his adaptation of Romeo and Juliet Zeffirelli knew who the stars were. Not the leads, but the celebrities. In an interview with The Guardian during filming in 1968:

Zeffirelli described his view of Tybalt – ‘in the position of being a villain, but he has a lot of justification… He’s the golden playboy of the period’ – and Mercutio, ‘a rebel fascinating and charming…’[1]

They are young, both glamorous and glamorised: they are stars. The Montagues and Capulets are not two families in conflict so much as two gangs of youths. In fact their cockpieces and violent verbal flamboyance, which they use to facilitate and excuse male aggression is remarkably similar to Kubrick’s adaptation of Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange three years later (Kubrick’s fight choreography is indeed similar, even directly referential in fact, to Zeffirelli’s).

As gang leaders, Tybalt and Mercutio are the celebrities of this world, always the centre of the spectacle and surrounded by, but never subsumed within, other people. In fact Jackson quotes many reviews of the film on its initial reception, most of which are negative, including Variety magazine’s observation that:

Whiting [who plays Romeo] lacked presence, and ‘among his street friends there [was] really nothing to single him out as the male lead’.[2]

This is precisely because, at least when he is amongst his “street friends” he is not the male lead, Mercutio is.

This relationship is demonstrable in Act 1 Scene 4, a performance that sticks largely to the original text of the play. John McEnery as Mercutio takes on an almost ritualistic, prophet-like quality as his mask, which he dons for the Capulets’ ball is the only one that is skull-like. It’s  a death mask, basked in the scene’s dazzling torchlight. It’s concurrent with physical promotion as hero – a promotion that is enacted by gaining superior height to his fellows (by jumping onto a raised surface); a dominance of screen time, profile close-ups and a command of those around him earnt by his flamboyance and sheer verbal dexterity. Celebrity and death are symbolically linked.

Mercutio is led away from the scene proper by Romeo and finds himself out of the torchlight, as if out of the scene itself as Romeo tells him(1.4.95-6):

Romeo                     Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace! / Thou talk’st of nothing.

Mercutio                True. I talk of dreams, / Which are the children of an idle brain, / Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, / Which is as thin of substance as the air

McEnery looks blank, almost characterless. Away from his celebrity he is a non-entity. The meta-theatricality of the lines transforms to a meta-cinematic statement on the notion of stardom. The crowd sweep Mercutio back up into the scene, their hero. But McEnery’s eyes stay fixed on Romeo, warning him away from the hollowness of celebrity – a refutation rather than an assertion of self.

When Zeffirelli casts Mel Gibson in his 1990 production of Hamlet, then, the background of Romeo and Juliet instantly makes Gibson a marked man. Gibson was most famed for the Lethal Weapon films, an action hero of even greater prowess than McEnery’s Mercutio or Michael York’s Tybalt. In many ways this film of Hamlet is the reverse of Romeo and Juliet. Gibson’s Hamlet has star status, he has the “great love the general gender bear him” (4.7.18) but he finds himself adrift from it, isolated in the suspician and petty whisperings of Elsinore.

Just as Gibson must survive without the pyrotechnics of the action sequence and contend instead with the intimacy of monologue and the primacy of word; his Hamlet must sustain his sanity through celebrity within a small populous in which reputation confronts him at every turn.

The casting continues Zeffirelli’s particularly masculine sense of celebrity, creating a world in which the gravitas of a central character is such that a conventional action movie romance plot – the leading man and woman having sexual tension, transcends even the taboo of incest as Hamlet and Gertrude (Glen Close) share their infamous kiss in the closet scene (3.4). This is often interpreted as sensationalism loosely justified by oedipal theories about the original text. Yet surely it also demonstrates the deep unnaturalness of the late century’s notions of stardom.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet demonstrates the instability and unatainability of the masculine ideals of its age. Likewise Zeffirelli’s Hamlet undermines a new unattainable male aspiration: the movie star.

[1] Russell Jackson – Shakespeare Films in the Making: Vision, Production and Reception (Cambridge, 2007) p.195.

[2] Jackson, p.215.

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Gently rise and softly call: ‘The Parting Glass’ and ‘Song for Dennis Brown’

My favourite song is a ballad named ‘The Parting Glass’. There are many reasons to think it is the best song written in English: its quietness, subtlety and delicacy are chief amongst them. The crux of the song comes at the end of the second stanza:

But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

The speaker or, more properly (because the song really does only work sung), the singer is addressing a loved one who has died: who “should not” rise and yet accepts this with a quiet dignity, with the same inevitability as the song’s refrain. Death represents a parting and therefore the song constructs a goodbye. Yet the song is fundamentally inward looking: the eternal nature of death is channelled through the singer’s own experience of life, of everything being exhausted. The song opens:

Of all the money e’er I had,
I spent it in good company.

The singer refers to the “mem’ry now I can’t recall” and begins the final stanza (depending on the version we’re talking about) with:

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,

Everything depletes: time, memory, money. The drink poured into the parting glass will soon go too. The constant references to money commodify life and time as a stock-pile of resource that is to be spent. A part of the pathos of the song is that it is aware on some level of the fallacy of this, of the artificial sense of human control over death that it creates. And yet out of this pathos it creates something truly uplifting: there’s no point leaving money unspent, leaving life unlived and therein the song finds a celebration of death. This is why I describe the song as delicate. There is little foundation to its optimistic interpretation of death, nothing physical, nothing, in the strictest sense of the word, knowable. And yet death is in a meaningful, very human sense, overcome by the song’s warm embrace.

The Spooky Men's Chorale

The song bears analysis. But this does not make it complicated. Its simplicity is the reason for its success, yet few recordings of the song have been able to capture this simplicity. The best live performance of the song I’ve heard was by the Spooky Men’s Chorale, whose output is usually comedic but whose vocal abilities and base humility are hard to match amongst modern performers. Yet fundamental to the song is the integrity and singularity of one human singer. Live, a choir like this can reinstate this singularity through performance, through the human face and gesture. Not on CD. Other recordings seem to go out of their way to lose this singularity either by reciting the song as if it has no particular meaning or sticking clichéd instrumental lines underneath it, which obscure its beauty like light pollution does the night’s sky. For a combination of the two, do (or rather don’t) check out the Cottars’ atrocious attempt on their 2005 album On Fire. The version on this year’s Hannah Peel album is one of the better I can find, which although it begins with some weird sound effects, at least lets the song breath a little vocally.

The reason, I think, that this song tends to sink like a stone into the studio microphone rather than skimming gracefully across its surface is because its simplicity is at odds with the modern artistic aspirations of performers. There is a broad dichotomy between simple and complex and even when simplicity is a perfectly effective means of communicating a message, as with say the Manic Street Preachers, fans often hype up an imagined complexity that does not exist. There is a good reason for this: simplicity is associated with a corporate driven populist kind of release; complexity with ambition and deeper meaning. This is why in jazz, folk and classical music the value of virtuosity and difficulty is inflated beyond its artistic worth. Such a value system is not unimportant; but it should not be where discussion of music stops.

With regard to song writing, this begs many question. Foremost in my mind is whether any modern song writing retains the simplicity of songs like ‘The Parting Glass’. By simplicity, it must be emphasised, that I mean a specific quality rather than a value judgement. Simplicity does not prevent depth and multiplicity of meaning, but is characterised rather by a certain straightforwardness and quiet forthrightness. By this reckoning, the best songwriter writing in English today may be John Darnelle, who usually releases under the name The Mountain Goats. Their new album is out in a couple of weeks but for the purposes of this discussion I wish to explore a song on their seminal 2005 release The Sunset Tree, which documents through a thirteen-song cycle Darnelle’s experiences of childhood abuse. Two songs away from the end of the record is a tribute to the reggae singer Dennis Brown. It begins:

On the day that Dennis Brown’s lung collapsed, spring rain was misting down on Kingston.

and down at the harbor, local cops were intercepting an inbound shipment.

Just as in ‘The Parting Glass’, one should rise and another should not and life itself is the most fitting tribute to death. The death of Dennis Brown intensifies the beauty of life because each action becomes a defiant punch against death: the rain over Kingston, the cops fighting the sailors or, in the next stanza, the school children singing in choirs and the guys who jump into dumpsters behind the Chinese Restaurant.

The last lines of the song make even death itself seem like a challenge, the final dare, the final thrust of life:

It took all the coke in town

to bring down Dennis Brown.

On the day my lung collapses

we’ll see just how much it takes.

In ‘The Parting Glass’, the song’s imagery uses the expendability of life to defiantly imagine that the singer is in control of it. The same is happening here. Dennis Brown was a cocaine addict and died of it. This should be a cause of diminishment. Yet in the imagination of the song, he is a hero. He gets his heroic couplet (town/Brown) and his very defeat makes him a figure of strength, challenging Darnelle to match his greatness. Sure, the song is aware of its own artifice but that is both the source of its pathos and defiance. And, like ‘The Parting Glass’, it knows that it doesn’t need to shout.

Photograph: "Charlie Brown's pub showing curiosities brought back by sailors", 1928 - from the National Maritime Museum's archives.

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Great Comedy, Horrible History

In my continuing endeavour to use up unpublished work, below is an article I wrote last summer for the Oxford University History Society’s magazine. I wrote two articles at the time; this one was held back an issue for space and then got lost amongst a flurry of editorial re-arrangement. The article’s exposition, necessary when
Horrible Histories was a cult phenomenum, seems outdated now it has won major awards and is moving to prime-time; and I made it a little college-magazine-y in style as I didn’t know what the magazine was after and thought I’d better play it safe. But I still thought it may be worth sticking here as food for thought for that ever elusive browsing reader.

Review: Horrible Histories (CBBC)

There was once a day when all of us encountered history without footnotes, without bibliography and without double spacing. There was once a day when it was served instead with gusto and with vomit and with kings getting pokers shoved up their asses. In those days we were young enough to enjoy the Horrible Histories books, a series of paperbacks with alliterative titles full of people getting hanged and dying of plague: scratch-n-sniff history.

This year saw the second series of the books’ current TV spin-off. As a sketch show, the series is a triumph. It is fed by a strict diet of Monty Python, which finds a suitable vehicle for both the grotesquely historical and the historically grotesque. Series highlights include a rap celebrating the monarchy restoration, Charles II and his subjects partying like it’s 1699. Except not like it’s actually 1699 because Charles would have been dead fourteen years.

Another innovation is a talking rat who occasionally appears with a little sign-post to tell you that what’s happening on screen is actually true and not just something made up by CBBC executives, like the winning entry in a Blue Peter competition. “This actually happened!” “They actually did this!” the rat actually tells us about the unlikeliest of details. The BBC should use him more – I’d like to see him on Question Time with signs like “he actually believes this!” or “he actually purchased that tie!” whenever a politician speaks.

"He ACTUALLY wrote this blog, actually wrote it."

But one thing you can’t get away from when watching is that it’s trying to sell something – it screams to its young target audience “Oh my god look at the vomit, would you look at that vomit! Incidentally, there were two infamous battles in 1066, I bet you didn’t know that. What? History? Oh no, you must be thinking about this massive pile of vomit…” Actually the vomit-history ratio is mercifully different to this but the fact remains that the aim of the show is to coerce children into taking an interest in history, the sort of interest that will make them sit up a bit more in history lessons and possibly keep them interested all their lives.  Does it succeed?

I’m not sure that it does. Do people really get into history to discover “who suffered what pain” as a history teacher at my school once put it? The nerdier things makes it stick with you – the thrill of reading something in which your very existence in a time and place is rooted; the way that every event can be seen through a myriad of interpretations; the excitement of something that is not fixed although it has already happened. I don’t think Horrible Histories quite cracks this.

Its comedy is excellent but its portrayal of history is no less two-dimensional than the cartoons in those books we read as kids. Who is Horrible Histories really for? For children? Possibly. But more than that I think it’s for the people who have given the Charles II rap its ninety-five three hundred and seventy-two thousand views on YouTube – a good chunk of them, I bet, are history students.


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Under Northern Skies

One of my main jobs in Oxford’s student publications is as editor of Oxford University Poetry Society’s magazine, a pamphlet publication named Ash. I don’t mention it much on here, largely because I don’t write for it as a contributor. But as we’re calling for submissions for the next issue (and also currently looking for an assistant editor) I thought I’d pop my press release on here, knowing that there must be a lot of student journalists and writers who check this blog occasionally but who aren’t on the Poetry Soc’s mailing list.

Call for submissions –

Ash Magazine: ‘North’


In this term’s Ash magazine, we are looking to the north. We want northern lights and intrepid explorers, Russian oil tycoons and barbarous wastelands of the mind. From north London to north Oxford up to the Hebrides and sleighing to the north pole or on a farmstead in the Yorkshire dales.

But we also want you to orientate your compass from all sorts of places: everywhere has a north after all. Alternatively you can melt our theme away like an ice-cap and write on whatever you like. If you’ve got anything from a poem that’s anthologised nationally to a few stray stanzas on your laptop, give it a lick of (metaphorical) paint and send it in. We want to print the most exciting material from all across Oxford University’s poetry scene, whether you’re a student, resident or anyone who has come and gone through the society; whether you write in pentameter, prose-poetry, free verse or a some other form from a far away northern state, we’d like to read it.

Send all submissions and queries to:

Deadline for submissions was Saturday of 9th week, that’s 19th March 2011.

Ash is the termly magazine from the Oxford University Poetry Society and will be printed over the vacation for release right at the start of Trinity term. We have more space for poetry than other student publications and our magazines are like small, high quality pamphlets.

We are currently also looking for an assistant editor to help out during Trinity term – all experience considered.

Last term’s issue was a lot of fun to edit and we were lucky enough to have the real pick of the submissions – having to reject a few poems that were actually very good. If you write stuff, whether you like to shout about it or keep it quiet, it’s a great place to have your poetry displayed. And if you don’t get in we do offer general feedback as best we can to those whose work we can’t take.

Here are some cool things that might vaguely relate to the theme for anybody who needs inspiration:

Here’s something that’s incredibly fascinating.

Here’s something equally as exciting.

Here’s something funny.

And here’s something that’s just plain weird.

Best of luck with submissions!

Note: this may be self-explanatory but please replace the hash symbol in my email address with a dot.

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