Oxford Poetry magazine produces centenary issue

The Oxford Times: century: Current editors front left, Aime Williams and front right Lavinia Singer, back row from left old editors Elise Paschen, John Fuller and Peter McDonald Buy this photo century: Current editors front left, Aime Williams and front right Lavinia Singer, back row from left old editors Elise Paschen, John Fuller and Peter McDonald

WORDSWORTH may have wandered lonely as a cloud but he would be happy to see that Oxford poets are far from alone.

There has been so much poetry produced that 100 magazines of work by county writers have been published by 104-year-old Oxford Poetry magazine, which marked its centenary edition last week.

Current and former editors, as well as contributors and fans of the magazine met on Tuesday at Blackwells on Broad Street in Oxford to celebrate the magazine and hear poetry readings.

Co-editor and former Oxford University student Lavinia Singer said: “It was a real success. We had a series of heartfelt, generous, and beautiful readings from former editors John Fuller, Elise Paschen, Peter McDonald.

“They all read poems from their student days, which was wonderful to hear.”

Oxford Poetry started life as an annual collection of poetry from Oxford University undergraduates in 1910 and was published by Blackwells founder Sir Basil Blackwell.

James Orton, of Blackwells, said: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity of celebrating the launch of the 100th anniversary edition, in light of it being our late ‘gaffer’, Sir Basil Blackwell, who first introduced it as Oxford Poetry 1910-1913.

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“We are extremely proud to support what has become an Oxford institution in the world of poetry.”

In the 1980s it started to accept poetry from non-students and began to publish reviews, interviews and prose pieces alongside the poems.

The centenary issue is organised into chronological chapters, with a mixture of archive poems, pieces from former contributors, plus new poetry. Ms Singer, 25, as been an editor since 2012.

She said: “We knew we wanted to do something special to mark its centenary.

“It is a lot of pressure to create something worthwhile as well as honouring all the incredible past editors and contributors.

“The magazine has a rich history, being one of the oldest in the country, and gives opportunities to new poets, proudly publishing the work of ‘neophytes’ beside the well established.”

Previous editors include Aldous Huxley, Siegfried Sassoon, WH Auden, Louis MacNeice, Kingsley Amis, Geoffrey Hill, John Fuller and Robert Macfarlane.

Ms Singer said: “My co-editor Aime Williams and I are proud to be part of such a chain and hope we can continue putting together a magazine that discovers new voices and shares great poetry.”

s Centenary issue copies cost £7 and are available on the Oxford Poetry website oxfordpoetry.co.uk or cheques made payable to Oxford Poetry can be sent to Oxford Poetry, Magdalen College.

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