Sundays @ Silvie

 

Find us once a month at

 

After a lovely summer residency, we are BACK at Silvie for monthly Sunday appearances – first Sunday of every month, starting 7 October, we will be setting up shop at the cafe so you can browse some poetry while you enjoy some of the most delicious coffee and brunch in the city…

 

Silvie

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Homelands

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Poetry can be a powerful way to explore identity, belonging, movement, and one’s environment. Nowhere is that more pertinent than in the work of writers most affected by migration and the refugee experience. Azfa Awad, Rukiya Khatun, and Hassan Bamyani are exciting local voices in the poetry world who are themselves from refugee and immigrant backgrounds, whose poetry explores and interrogates these ideas with precision and power. Alan Buckley is a local poet who works closely with refugees at Oxfordshire charity, Refugee Resource, and James Attlee works closelyw ith Hassan Bamyani to create English versions of his Persian poems. Come hear them share their work and read their poetry at this unique event.

50% of all our profits from the event will go to Asylum Welcome‘s hardship fund which supports young people and adults who are destitute in Oxford due to their immigration status.

Azfa Awad is an award winning page and performance poet who won the Oxford Tower Poetry competiton in 2013 for her poem ‘Origins’ and became the first Oxford Youth Ambassador for Poetry. Her role involved sharing her love for poetry with the young people of Oxford through writing workshops, and collaborating with composers at Oxford University to write an aria for oper. She was also part of ‘Map of Me,’ a two-woman performance poetry show with Rosemary Harris that explored the relationship between a young female refugee and an immigration officer.

Rukiya Khatun’s poetry explores her childhood in Bangladesh and her journey to England when she was six. She is now 22 and a student in London, and has had her poetry included in anthologies and compilations, some of which can be found here and here.

Hassan Bamyani is from the Hazara community in Afghanistan, a persecuted Shia minority. He worked as a teacher in Afghanistan, teaching both boys and girls and was also active as a poet. After escaping the Taliban, he came to Britain where he now lives with his wife and son. Earlier this year, his family faced deportation back to an extremely unstable situation in Afghanistan. A community campaign worked to pressure the Home Office to reverse their decision, and the case was eventually thrown out after several members of the Oxford community campaigned to demonstrate what valued members of the community the family are. Much of this can be attributed to the power of Hassan’s poetry to communicate and connect with people. His writing explores his experiences, written in Dari, his dialect of Persian.

James Attlee is a writer, journalist and musician living in the UK. His books include Guernica: Painting the End of the World (2017), Station to Station, (2015) shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award, Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight (2011) and Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey (2009). His digital fiction The Cartographer’s Confession won the New Media Writing Award 2017. His journalism has appeared in publications including The Independent, Frieze magazine, Tate Etc and the London Review of Books. He is a close friend of Hassan Bamyani’s and works with him to create English versions of his poetry.

Alan Buckley is from Merseyside, and now lives in Oxford. His most recent publication is the pamphlet The Long Haul (HappenStance, 2016). He was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prizes. He is a poetry editor at Ignition Press, and a school writer-in-residence with First Story. He also works as a psychotherapist for local charity Refugee Resource.

Music will also be provided by the wonderful local songwriter, Samantha Twigg Johnson.

Samantha Twigg Johnson sings songs of love, fury, apocalypse, and wine-soaked compromise. As a performer, she gained her sea-legs on Chicago’s vibrant open mic scene in the 2000s. She has since played in a variety of bright stages and dark corners, and now lives in Oxford. In addition to the flamenco guitar, she plays the Puerto Rican cuatro and the cajón. She is currently working on a new record, ”Flights and Landings”.

Tickets are £7 and are available in advance here

SECOND OPEN MEETING: Women and Trans* Reading Group

Thank you so much to everyone who came down to the first open meeting on Friday for our exciting new reading/writing group for women and trans* people! What a productive and inspiring gathering. Here are some of the awesome ideas we came up with about what we want this group to be founded on, how we’d like it structured, what feminist poetry and writing means to us…

 

***We are going to be largely communicating through WhatsApp and email so if you were unable to come along on Friday but want to be included in future meetings/sessions, then email oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com with your phone number and email address you’d like to be contacted on!***

Our next meeting is Monday 6 August at 7.30pm, at OARC (upstairs in the East Oxford Community Centre) – don’t miss it…

South Park Session – 5 August

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It’s the long, hot summer, and we’re craving a bit of Sunday lounging in the sunshine with a good book. So come along to South Park on 5 August from 2pm for an afternoon reading session!

We will be there from 2pm til 4.30pm – spot the yellow plum flag! – with the library, blankets and cushions. Lie around in the grass, have a quiet moment unwinding in the sunshine perusing a book or two, browse our collection, chat about poetry, and generally hang out and soak up the summery vibes!

We’ve got everything from the most cutting-edge contemporary and modern poetry, to the dusty old classics, also picturebooks and kids books to get the little ‘uns into poetry nice and early.

We might even crack out the SodaStream again.

 

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OPEN MEETING: Women and Trans* Reading Group

At 7.30pm on 27 July at OARC (upstairs at the East Oxford Community Centre), our brand spankin’ new Women and Trans* Reading Group will have its inaugural open meeting.

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Ever felt like there was something you really wanted to say but you just weren’t sure how? Want to get your voice heard, hear the voices of other women and trans* folk? Share your writing, read more widely, and learn from your peers?

We are a collective who welcome women, non-binary, and trans* people to share poetry and prose – their own and/or that of others – and together improve our writing skills, feel empowered, and read more of the work of other women/trans* writers.

We want this group to be self-directing and with as much input from its members as possible! With that in mind, this will be the inaugural open meeting of the group to discuss the following:

  • Would people like it to be more a reading or writing group, or a mix of both? How will sessions be structured?
  • What are the important aims and principles for the group to be founded on?
  • How often would people like the group to meet? Monthly/fortnightly/weekly?

Bring your ideas, enthusiasm, and a poem – it can be yours or one by a woman/trans* writer you admire – and we can get the ball rolling with sharing, celebrating, and enjoying some quality poetry!

Due to the nature of the group, our space is for those who identify as female or in the trans* community – but within that, open to all! Kids welcome to come too (just let us know in advance, and we can bring some of its kids books to keep ’em occupied and reading while we chat.)

Announcing… Women and Trans* Reading Group

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Ever felt like there was something you really wanted to say but you just weren’t sure how? Want to get your voice heard, hear the voices of other women and trans* folk? To share your writing, read more widely, and learn from your peers?

We are creating a collective who welcome women, non-binary, and trans* people to share poetry and prose – their own and/or that of others – and together improve our writing skills, feel empowered, and read more of the work of other women/trans* writers.

Due to the nature of the group, our space is for those who identify as female or in the trans* community – but within that, open to all!

Join the facebook group (or follow OPL on twitter / join our mailing list) to stay in the loop as to our happenings and the first open meeting at OARC at East Oxford Community Centre (date and time tbc) for all those interested to discuss how the group will work, and get the ball rolling!

South Parks Session + Annual General Meeting

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Come along after work for an early evening reading session in the park!

On Thursday May 17th at 6.30pm, we will be in the green expanse of South Parks with the library, plenty of blankets and cushions. Lie around in the grass, have a quiet moment unwinding in the sunshine perusing a book or two, browse our collection, or share and chat about poetry, and generally hang out and soak up the summery vibes!

We will be in South Parks from 6.30pm, and at about 8pm we will be holding our Annual General Meeting. If you would like to chat about what the poetry library has been up to this year, be a part of things for the year to come, learn more about what we do, and meet the folks involved, everyone is welcome!

Subject to weather conditions, we may relocate to The Star or similar nearby watering-hole – but fingers crossed for sun!

Oxford Poetry Library turns ONE!

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Our first year as Oxford’s pedal-powered lending library of poetry has flown by! Celebrate 12 months of browsing, borrowing, reading, rhyming, and writing with us at East Oxford Community Centre from 8pm on May 11. We will have an OPEN MIC SESSION so do bring along any work you’d like to share – your own or someone else’s who you admire – and sign up on the door. We will have POETIC GAMES so bring your creative joy and imagination.

 

We will also have readings from a range of writers to celebrate the diverse poetic voices in our city:

 

Nancy Campbell

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Nancy Campbell’s books include Disko Bay (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016) and How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Greenlandic (winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award), and her memoir The Library of Ice, is forthcoming from Scribner this autumn. Nancy is the current Canal Laureate.

 

Mbalenhle Matandela

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Mbalenhle Matandela is a Black radical feminist activist, poet and storyteller currently studying for her MSc Candidate in African Studies at the University of Oxford. Her activism and research interests include issues around race and resistance, gender, feminist education, militarism and sexual and reproductive health rights. Some of her poetry can be found in the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism.

 

Shara Lessley

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Shara Lessley is the author of Two-Headed Nightingale and The Explosive Expert’s Wife. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, Shara’s awards include the Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, Colgate University’s Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Shara was the inaugural Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College. She is the co-editor of The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice and lives in Oxford.

 

We will also have a musical interlude from the incredibly talented Rosie Caldecott and Laura Theis.

 

You won’t want to miss this celebration! See you there…

On the radio…

It’s looking to be a a busy week here at the library!

 

On top of our volunteer social and info evening at the Cape of Good Hope THIS FRIDAY, February 9th from 7pm, this week we will also be appearing on BBC Radio Oxford, Kat Orman’s show from about 11am this Thursday 8 February.

 

Tune in for some mid-morning banter and listen to Head Librarian Phoebe Nicholson definitely not stumble over her words on live radio, shooting the breeze with Kat about the library and its origins, the importance of poetry, the work OPL does, and give a little aural-tour of the bike.

 

Click on the pic below to listen live when the time comes, or to listen again…

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Volunteer Social and Info Evening!

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Is your new year’s resolution to volunteer more? Get involved with community projects? Read and share more poetry?

 

If you’d like to be a librarian for a day, create a reading list of your favourite poems for us to share with our borrowers, meet like-minded people, help a local, grassroots, not-for-profit project, or just fancy hanging out with a bikeful of books, then make 2018 the year you volunteer with us.

 

We’re having a little gathering at the Cape of Good Hope at 7pm on Friday, February 9th which you are invited to!

 

This is an opportunity for prospective volunteers and interested folk to come and learn more about what it is we do, offer their time or skills, meet and chat to the folk behind the bike, and sign up to volunteer with us (short-term, long-term, flexibly, or regularly). 

 

It’s also a chance for existing volunteers to come together and meet or re-meet each other, share poetic musings (and other musings, we’re not strict), and hang out over a pint.

 

Should be nice, eh? See you there!

 

xx Oxford Poetry Library