Call for submissions for Drafting Table zine!

The Drafting Table crew are pleased to announce that we are making a zine featuring work from our poetry sessions!   We will take submissions from our group attendees over the coming two months, and spend the winter compiling everything and having it printed ready for a spring launch 2024.   We are particularly looking for work that has been brought to either the OPL or Gulp Fiction sessions and received feedback, and that has hopefully developed over time based on the insights of other attendees.    Alternatively if you have written something as a response to a prompt at one of the sessions, and have taken the time to develop it into a full poem, this too would be ideal.   We will also be reaching out for contributions from the esteemed and high-profile poets who have featured in our Gulp Fiction workshops, so hopefully you will be in good printed company!   Please see below for guidelines and entry requirements:

  • Deadline for submissions is October 2nd, 2023 at 12pm (noon).
  • We can feature a max of one poem from each poet. You can submit up to three poems (in a single document), from which the editors will select one.
  • For space reasons, poems must be 30 lines or fewer including line breaks.
  • Poems must be your own and previously unpublished.
  • There is no set theme. We encourage creative poetry that takes a risk, that shows craft, attention to detail and originality.
  • Please type your submissions in a Google doc or Word file. No pdfs or scans of hand-written work please. (If you need to submit in other formats due to personal limitations please chat with a poetry library volunteer and we will try to be as flexible as possible.)
  • Please submit your work to with ‘SUBMISSION’ in the subject line. Include in the body of the email your full name or pen name, email address, and a short bio of up to 50 words.
  • Your poem doesn’t have to be perfect! As editors we may request that a submission is re-drafted if we think it could use a little more work before it’s ready for publication.
  • However, we cannot guarantee that every poet who submits will be included in this volume. This may be due to a number of factors, so please keep drafting your work and we will try to prioritise you for inclusion in the next volume.
  • If you wish to withdraw your submission, or have any other queries, as always send an email to  

Winter opening hours!

It’s been a magical year for us at Oxford Poetry Library, in our new home at The Community Works!

As 2022 draws to a close, here’s a note about our opening hours over the Christmas period… We will be open as usual on Friday 16 December and Saturday 17 December, and then CLOSED over Christmas. We will reopen to share poetry with you all from Friday 6 January 2023, and continuing our opening hours of 12pm-3pm on Fridays and Saturdays from then on.

We have TONS of really exciting events happening in January to get your 2023 off to a good start, so be sure to check out our listings here where we have workshops, events, and readings aplenty.

If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas present, why not give someone the gift of being an Oxford Poetry Library patron? For just the price of a cup of coffee every month, you can help us keep going strong through the new year. Find out more here.

We’ll see you in 2023!

Announcing our new regular spoken word open mic night!

Oxford Poetry Library presents a brand new spoken word open mic night! Join us in the library on the first Tuesday of every month (starting July 5th) to enjoy all manner of word-weaving, story-sharing, and spell-casting.  

We welcome poets, storytellers, and writers of all kinds to share their work (or the work of others) in a safe, supportive, and inclusive space. Slots are 5 minutes long, and performers sign up on the door – first come, first served! 

Each month we will also showcase the work of a particular creator with an extended set. In July, that will be Stilly’s Terrible Drawn Tales. Stilly has lived in Iffley, Oxford for the past 18 years.  Originally from Yorkshire he is a storyteller, poet and illustrator who combines all three arts to create something both traditional and new. Imagine a magic lantern show with a powerpoint projector and you’re nearly there. Think of an episode of the Twilight Zone performed by Stanley Holloway, with pictures by Edward Gorey and words by Roald Dahl, and you’re not even close. Macabre settings, twisted endings and saucy tales to thrill, bewilder and amuse.  

Our first session will happen on July 5th, 7.30pm (performers are advised to arrive by 7.15pm), at The Community Works (21 Park End St, OX1 1HU). 

£5 entry, performers free. 

There is no bar, but it is BYOB (wine and beer only, no spirits please!), and this event is 18+.

If you have any accessibility needs, we are an accessible building! But please drop us a line beforehand at

Extending our opening hours – we need your input!

We are thinking of extending our opening hours! Being totally volunteer-run, we have limited resources, so we want to make sure we are open at the times when our borrowers are most likely to be able to visit us. Click the button below to fill in a very short survey about when you would be interested in visiting the library to browse our library, borrow from the collection, and hang out with our poetry games and activities!

Poems for Queer Euphoria

As part of this year’s Oxford Pride celebrations, we will be running a day of activities at the library with inspiration from our collection of LGBTQAI+ poets past and present. Engage with our classic word games, explore surprising crafts and workshop your poetic expressions for Queer Euphoria & Pride 2022!

Free, drop-in anytime between 12pm and 3pm at The Community Works, activities and books for all ages!


Since 2017, we have been peddling (and pedalling!) our wares through the streets of Oxford in a big purple cargo bike. We now at last have a physical space to call our own in The Community Works in the heart of the city centre. After months of painting shelves, getting books onto those shelves, gathering an army of volunteer librarians, and setting up our regular opening hours, we are ready to celebrate this new space and have a proper housewarming.

To mark the occasion, we will be running a whole day of activities for all ages, and an evening showcase of poetry performances on Saturday April 9th.

Housewarming Day

On Saturday 9th April between 10am and 4pm for a day of poetry fun, crafting, and storytelling. You’ll find a wide range of fun activities to try out, designed for people of all ages and abilities, all alongside our diverse collection of poetry which is free to browse and borrow.

Here’s a flavour of the fun you can take part in:

·       Take part in a poetry game, including our famously fun magnetic poetry kit

·       Pop in and add a line or two to an Oxford Community poem using a retro typewriter

·       Listen to stories from the Many Voices Collection told by local writers and performers

·       Take part in Poetry Orienteering to find hidden gem locations in Oxford, and then decorate a map with a poem of your making

·       Help us decorate the library with art and collaging

·       Join in a Poetry Workshop and, if you’re feeling like it, share your poem

This event is free but any donations will be gratefully received!

Housewarming Night

On Saturday April 9th from 7.30pm, join us for an evening of poetry, spoken word, and music. We will have performances from gems of the Oxford poetry scene:

Laura Theis

Claire LeMaster


and a musical interlude from Sam Twigg Johnson.

We will also have an open mic session so please bring your own spoken word to share, if you would like to perform. Slots will be 2 minutes long and sign-up will be on the door on arrival. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve got up your sleeve!

Tickets for the evening event are £7 (£5 concessions/Patreon supporters) and can be bought in advance here.

The Community Works can be found on Frideswide Square, opposite the train station at 21 Park End Street. To find out more about this new venue, click here.

To find out more about this event, including any questions about accessibility, please drop us a line at

YWMP Takeover event at OVADA

Feminist poetry badges are BACK!

And you’ll get the chance to get creative and make your own on March 12th as part of Young Women’s Music Project‘s takeover event at OVADA Gallery.

Come along to YWMP Takeover @ OVADA for a day of music, workshops, art, films and food – everyone is welcome!

YWMP presents a jam-packed programme to celebrate ‘Resistance and Resilience’: an exploration of the experiences of the young people, leaders and workers involved in grassroots music projects and our collective vision for transforming local music scenes.

As part of the proceedings, we’re running a poetry and badge-making workshop. Drop in from 4pm-6pm to explore poetry in our collection by women, non-binary, and trans writers, and be inspired to create badges with feminist slogans. All materials provided!

YWMP’s TAKEOVER will run all day and into the evening – find the full programme here:

Fancy some last-minute bookish Christmas shopping?

Looking to do some eco-friendly, bookish last minute Christmas shopping?

On Saturday December 18th, as well as running our usual library stall, Orinoco – The Oxfordshire Scrapstore will be joining us at The Community Works from 12pm til 3pm for a BIG BOOK SALE!

These are shiny new books which have been donated to Orinoco by an Oxford publishing company, of a wide range of genres, for kids and adults alike, and which can be yours for a small donation.

Our library will be open for browsing and borrowing, but bring some spare change to pick up some books for a bargain!

Opening weekend!

We’ve been working hard to move into our new physical space at The Community Works as part of an exciting initiative run by Makespace Oxford, transforming a disused building in central Oxford into a mix of work space for social enterprises and meeting space for community groups.

We’ll be finally ready to share it with you on the first weekend of December!

Come along to our new home in The Community Works (21 Park End St, opposite the train station and Said Business School) – browse the collection, register as a borrower, take home a book or two – all for free!

We have poetry books galore for adults and kids, plus friendly librarians on hand to make recommendations and tell you more about our project.You can also find out how to get involved and volunteer with us.

Drop in anytime between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 4 December or Sunday 5 December. We can’t wait to see you there!

Launching… the OPL Patreon!

Since 2017, we have been operating on a mobile basis, running the library out of our big purple cargo bike. We’ve been building a community of borrowers, reaching out to people all over the city, and growing as a library and organization.

This year, we were invited to become part of an exciting initiative run by ​​Meanwhile in Oxfordshire transforming a disused building in central Oxford into a mix of work space for social enterprises and meeting space for community groups. We will be setting up shop in this space, called ‘The Community Works’, in October 2021.

But we need your help! To fund this exciting new step in our journey, we’re launching a Patreon account. Patreon is a platform that invites anyone to contribute a monthly donation to an organization. Patrons (people who sign up to contribute these monthly donations) will support the running costs and fees for renting a physical space, as well as the upkeep of our existing books, running local community events, and expanding the collection further

To become a patron, find out more, and support our work, visit our Patreon page!