Dialect poems find a home

A collection of writing inspired by an online creative writing workshop, facilitated by Geraldine Green, is the perfect home for OUP member, Kathy Finney’s dialect poems. She admits to being ‘reet’ pleased that her poems are a feature of this beautiful anthology, published by the Quaker Tapestry Museum, which celebrates the environment, community, discourses and traditions which shape our sense of identity

If you want to read Kathy’s stunning poems then you can download the anthology for free from the Museum’s website. Click here.

Kathy Finney was born in Blackpool and is actively involved in preserving the folk traditions, history and dialect voices of her home county of Lancashire. She has a Master of Arts in Poetry & Creative Writing with the Open University in 2018. Her work has recently been shortlisted in a number of national competitions including ‘A Dialect Poetry Pamphlet’ competition 2020, run by Hedgehog Press, the ‘Frosted Fire First’ pamphlet competition 2021, run by Cheltenham Poetry Festival and the Lord Whisky Sanctuary poetry competition both in 2020 and 2021. Her work has also been published online at Words for the Wild and The Broken Spine, and in anthologies, including the Places of Poetry Anthology, Red Letter Openings, the Open University Poets 40th Anniversary Anthology. Kathy has now become a serial studier by day, poet by night and tweets @GradelyLass.

OU Poet Commended in Parkinson’s Arts Poet of the Year Competition’

In a competition that attracted entries from all round the world, lead judges, Marc Woodward and Martin Denton, and the panel commended Julie Anne Gilligan’s poem, Not Going Under.

Julie began writing in late 2003: she is an active committee member of Open University Poets and the author of The Thickness of Blood (2012).

To read her super poem, click here.

Anniversary anthology earns fabulous review

With three days to go to the official launch, Write Out Loud’s Rodney Wood reviews our fabulous celebratory publication, Red Letter Openings, the 40th Anniversary Anthology, capturing both its flavour and quality:

This is special all right; 40 years and still going with a wide range of styles. You can tell it has been put together by clever Open University students because it can be roughly split using the principle of thirds. One third is made up of poems about being an OU student and discovering poetry, one third about the experience of being a member of the Open University Poetry Society, and the final third saying “sod your theme My personal journey: poetry and the Open University. I’ll just write what I want”.

He goes on to explore many of the wonderful poems exploring the poets’ personal journeys with the Open University and with poetry.

To read the full review click here.

To purchase a copy of the Anthology click here.

Forty Years and Counting!!!

Saturday November 13th sees the official Zoom launch of the Society’s ‘Red Letter Openings, an anthology to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. It features contributions from current and former members documenting in verse their own personal journeys with poetry and the OU.

The introduction to the anthology compromises of fascinating insights into the early days of the Society by founder members Shirley Bell, Ted Griffin and Jim Lindop. Their reflections are followed with an overview from our archivist, Phil Craddock.

Here’s to the next 40 years. For details of how to purchase a copy click here. For details of membership click here.

The contributors: Denis Ahern; Jane Avery; Pru Bankes Price; K.J. Barrett; Liz Beber; Shirley Bell; Mark Bones; Ali Chakir; Sally Charnock; Cate Cody; Phil Craddock; Barbara Cumbers; Olivia Dawson; David Dennis; Tim Field; Kathy Finney; M.C. Gardner; Ginette Gibson; Julie Anne Gilligan; Adrian Green; E.F. Griffin; Jenny Hamlett; Alice Harrison; Lem Ibbotson; Sally James; Susan Jarvis Bryant; Eric Karoula; Nigel Kent; Jim Lindop; Robe Lowe; Mick Lyons; Karen McFarlane; Samantha Mansi; Ross McGivern; Hilary Mellon; Peter Meredith-Smith; Judi Moore; Vicki Morley; Nigel Pearce; Liz Power; Kimberley Pulling; Rebecca Pyne; Abigail Rowland; Dave Sinclair; Sue Spiers; Julie Stamp; Polly Stretton; Eve Stripp; Julie Stuart; Paul Williams; Rodney Wood; Kate Young.

Stirling Makar Competition Winner!

The OUPoets’ Community has some serious talent amongst its ranks! Kate Young, no stranger to competition success, has chalked up yet another triumph with her haiku, ‘Sycamore Seed’ that was placed joint winner of the Stirling Makar ‘Tiny Things’ competition. This was a project set by Laura Fyfe celebrating nature and the environment in preparation for COP 26.

Kate Young’s poetry has appeared in various webzines/magazines nationally and in Canada. It has also featured in the anthologies Places of Poetry and Write Out Loud. Her pamphlet A Spark in the Darkness is due to be published with Hedgehog Press. Find her on Twitter @Kateyoung12poet.

Congratulations Kate!

More publication success for OUP members!

Extreme Formal Poems showcases over 150 expertly crafted poems by nearly forty of the best poets writing today, many of them multi-award winners. One of these poets is our very own, Susan Jarvis Bryant, who has eight poems represented in this wonderful anthology that demonstrate the command of form and versality of language that we know is so characteristic of her writing. Find out more by clicking here.

Unmuted is a collection of 32 ekphrastic poems by Nigel Kent. Each artwork acts as a frame in a storyboard which he unfreezes and unmutes to reveal the narrative he imagines lies behind it. Even for those who have no interest in art these direct, accessible and moving poems will stand alone and engage with issues that truly matter. To find out more click here.

Congratulations to both of them!

A New Collection from Society’s Chair!

Congratulations to Polly Stretton, Chair of the Open University Poetry Society on the publication of her latest collection, Growing Places (Black Pear Press, 2021).

In Growing Places Polly reveals her talent for creating a vivid sense of time, place and character. As Gary Longden, Staffordshire Poet Laureate, 2014-2015, writes: ‘This work of reminiscence connecting memories of Worcestershire warms with pieces around Malvern, its hills and Droitwich. Yet you need not have visited to appreciate the landscapes Polly evokes, so carefully are they crafted, so profoundly do those echoes resonate.’

Polly works in education; her poems have been widely published in previous collections, online, and in anthologies. Polly’s first collection, Girl’s Got Rhythm, was followed by Chatterton, a series of poems about the tragic young poet, Thomas Chatterton. Between 2016-2018 she collated and edited four anthologies of WWI poems and The Alchemy of 42, a collection of poems written to prompts for the spoken word event ’42 Worcester’, published in 2020.

For more information click here.


We missed the news earlier in the year that OU Poetry Society Poet, Kathy Finney, had been shortlisted for the prestigious Frosted Fire First Pamphlet Award run by The Cheltenham Poetry Festival. This was not her only success of the year: her poem Throstle in France was shortlisted in the 3rd Annual Cupid’s Arrow Love Poem Competition run by Hedgehog Poetry Press and another poem by her ,Tale of the Mother Earth Tree, has been selected for inclusion in the Shadow and Tall Trees Anthology, also by Hedgehog Poetry Press.

Belated congratulations, Kathy.!

More competition success for OU Poets

The success for OU Poets keeps on coming! Congratulations to Sue Spiers and Kate Young who have both triumphed in prestigious national poetry competitions. Sue was shortlisted in Hedgehog Poetry Press’ Nicely Folded Paper – 6′ Poetry Pamphlet Competition and Kate came third in The Federation of Writers (Scotland) Vernal Equinox competition with her fabulous poem, Summits and Spires. To read her poem click here.

Sue is no stranger to poetry competition success and . She started writing seriously in 2006 when she began a BA in Literature with the Open University. Her first collection, Jiggle Sac, was published in 2012 and 2020 saw the publication of her Plague – A Season of Senryu.

Kate too has a history of publishing and competition successes. Her work has appeared in Ninemuses, Ekphrastic Review, Nitrogen House, Words for the Wild and Poetry on the Lake. She has had poems included in a Scottish Writers Centre chapbook and an anthology taken from the Places of Poetry project last year. She was also one of the three authors of Liberté, egalité, fraternité, published last year by Hedgehog Poetry Press.

Openings 38 the annual anthology of the Society

We are delighted to announce the publication of Openings 38, the annual anthology of the Poetry Society of the Open University.

Members of the society submit poems to a workshop magazine, which is produced five times a year, each one having a different voluntary editor. The magazine is not a publication per se and is strictly produced by the members for the members. At the end of the year, members are asked to vote for the twenty poems they most appreciated from the magazines produced in the preceding calendar year. Those with the most votes, allowing for no more than one poem per poet, appear in the following year’s issue of Openings. The anthology is as broad-based as the society itself and reflects the varied backgrounds, interests and tastes of the members.

Appearing in the anthology this year are: Denis Ahern; Jane Avery; K.J. Barrett; Mark Bones; Sally Charnock; Cate Cody; Phil Craddock; Barbara Cumbers; Rose Docherty; Tim Field; Kathy Finney; M.C. Gardner; Julie Anne Gilligan; Adrian Green; Ted Griffin; Jenny Hamlett; Alice Harrison; Lem Ibbotson; Susan Jarvis Bryant; Nigel Kent; Jim Lindop; Rob Lowe; Jacob Lund; Karen Macfarlane; Ross McGivern; Hilary Mellon; Peter Meredith-Smith; Judi Moore; Vicki Morley; Kewal Paigankar; Nigel Pearce; Kimberley Pulling; Katherine Rawlings; Diane Schofield; Peta-Maria Slaney; Sue Spiers; Julie Stamp; Polly Stretton; Julie Stuart; Kate Young.

Congratulations to all the selected poets!

Openings 38, the annual anthology of the Open University Poets is available for sale, £7 + £2.16p UK P&P – Royal Mail rate for Non-UK P&P.


Non-UK P&P

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