Oxford Poetry '08

Collectors of ephemera, and little magazines, will seek out the enigmatic, if feisty, Oxford Poetry '08 magazine, edited by Benjamin Mullen and J.C.H. Potts. At 147 pages, it is quite something.

Its end of transmission "and of transmission" statement (is that a typo?) in the manifesto section makes startling reading: "Oxford Poetry is a name. We have no premises, no freephone, and certainly no savings account. Printing costs this year were donated. We have no committee of bosses, neither any constituting documents nor cubby hole for their preservation, and by summer 'we' too will have gone. Oxford Poetry 2009 (Vol. XIII, no. 1), therefore, is open for conscientious editorship to anyone, so long as they can claim simultaneous connection both to place and thing. No appointments will be made, no mantles conferred, no batons passed with patted backs. Mail forwarded from Magdalen to St Anne's will be Magdalen's again, and details of such subscriptions as remain unfullfilled returned to them. We are a name. Writers, this is plenty."

As far as nomadic editorial introductions (and good-byes) go, this is impressive, if a little blank generation in style. This issue features poetry by, among others, David Wheatley, George Szirtes, Peter McDonald, Stephen Burt, Elaine Feinstein, and Andrew Motion - so, this is hardly sport for boys - these are serious poets. There is also criticism on Geoffrey Hill, R.F. Langley, Michael Hoffman and Ted Hughes (one wonders: where are the women poets?). Still, poets worth thinking and writing about.

In short, this is worth buying. To do so, go to the London Review Bookshop, Blackwell's in Oxford, and Heffers in Cambridge. You can also order it online.