Poetry

Dusk

by Tom Davy The audience departs. A discerning moon watches them, Watch-checking coated herds Emerge into the street, phones out Like fireflies as they flutter about. There’s a dusk around all of them, Its tusks tucking night’s handiwork Swiftly over chimneys. One of three Compliments the lead, another agrees, The third sneezes abruptly to the […]

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Poetry

Serenity

by Anna Wawrzonkowska serenity in the city of spires, choirs and fires is serenity at the side of the river cold springtide shiver is serenity in the candlelit burning waiting and yearning is serenity where the grief is expected and truth rejected is serenity serenity serenity wordless playwright in mirrors fashioning heroes is serenity where […]

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Poetry

The Naked ‘I’

by Lizzie Searle Every day I sport a cloak, A cloak I wear but do not own. I fashioned it from want and smoke And it clothes each frail bone. And with that cloak of smoke and blight, I wear a heart pinned to my cuff. Only to remove at night That sad and desperate […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Castro’s Cuba

by Tobias Thornes Entombed forever in a place where sunlight never shines. Beaten and broken by remorseless hands and feet. Tortured until I no longer recognise truth from falsehood. Consumed by fear, is there anything left of what I once was – anything left of myself? This was not my reality. But it was, I […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Watching Night Fall

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I sit in the window seat of the cafe, watching Oxford as it slips into darkness. People below are barely distinguishable coats laden with bags as they scuttle through the damp streets towards some dry, artificially lit haven. Some dusks are beautiful blends of mystery and sunset blush; tonight is […]

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Comment, Prose

Turning Up Trumps

by Eleanor Harris It is hard to put a positive spin on an inexperienced man, who is also vocally racist, sexist and homophobic becoming the next President of America. But over the past few weeks, that is the difficulty that we have been facing. Time and time again, our words have seemed to ring hollow. […]

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Prose

Twilight Illuminations

by Aidan Chivers ‘Ubi caelum condidit umbra/Iuppiter, et rebus nox abstulit atra colorem’ (Aeneid 6.271-2) – ‘When Jupiter has buried the heavens in shadow, and black night has stolen the colour from things’ ___________________________________ Drawing on traditional Greco-Roman mythology in his assignment of a powerful deity to explain the grandeur of this natural process, Virgil […]

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Poetry

Upon Waking

by Miriam Stegmann The gravity of an ending In the fleeing dark Anthracite clouds of breath Hanging low Over the curve of your heavy skull Your globe, world of worlds Allegory of bones, blood, brain Your thoughts A black box Weighing me down. In foreboding shadows you rest Below my collar bone Pressing onto my […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Fragile Figures

by Samuel Irvine The heavens continue their onslaught. Frozen rain beats down on the rusted exterior of the aircraft, already lost in the storm. Inside, I stare at the small mound of poorly cured furs and scraps of cloth serving as blankets, resting across a row of worn seats that lie on the far side […]

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Prose

Noch

by Kryssa Burakowski  «Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека, Бессмысленный и тусклый свет.» – “The night, the street, the lamp, the pharmacy, A senseless and dim light.” (The Russian sounds much better than my translation.) These are the opening lines to a short poem of October 1912 by Alexander Blok, a Petersburg poet of the Russian Silver […]

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Prose

Skardu to Islamabad

by Luke Sheridan. An account of a journey. As written at the time and unaltered. Meandering plains, gently drawn pillows of silt that at times abruptly swing into a valley as sand dunes but which tend to converge between mountains to push the water into rapids. The beginning of this journey is permeated by the […]

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Interview, Prose

Stories of Oxford: David Lloyd George

Interview by Alex Waygood, Joanna Engle and Christopher Hill “If I had their money, I’d buy an island and sit on it all day! David Lloyd George, beloved amongst Oriel joggers, sits on a bench in the Christ Church meadows. We ask if he has time for a chat… Go for it! Are you from […]

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Interview, Prose

Stories of Oxford: Carol

Interview by Alex Waygood, Joanna Engle and Christopher Hill ‘Boredom motivates me…’ Carol works on Cornmarket Street selling hats, scarves and her artwork. It’s a busy Saturday afternoon and the streets are full, but she says she has time to talk to us. You’ve got some great artwork you’re doing here. It’s what I do. […]

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Interview, Prose

Stories of Oxford: Darren

Interview by Alex Waygood, Joanna Engle and Christopher Hill ‘They’re horrible people, where I come from…’ There’s a man playing an electric keyboard on Cornmarket Street. He introduces himself: ‘Darren Potter, as in Harry Potter’. Music is Darren’s life. He bought his keyboard in a charity shop, and has been teaching himself to play; we […]

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Interview, Prose

Stories of Oxford: Angelis

Interview by Alex Waygood, Joanna Engle and Christopher Hill ‘I’m trying to get accommodation, but as a single male I’ve got no chance in hell…’ We meet Angelis in North Oxford. He lets us interrupt his reading to tell us about his experiences… Are from Oxford? No. Liverpool and Italy. But I’ve been down here, […]

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Comment, Prose

Visions of Cultural Appropriation

by Zad El Bacha Utopia There have been hundreds of years of rich, positive exchanges between cultures. When a European meets an Arab, they ask them about the patterns on their clothes, the words in their books, the instruments in their songs. The Arab asks them the same. They listen and learn, they answer in […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: A Cuban Conundrum

by Tobias Thornes The heat of a long, lingering Louisiana summer simmered still as I made my slow way across the humid wetlands of that southerly state. It’s a country of wide deltas and stretching coastal marshes, a buzzing frontier between the amazing lifeforms of land, sea and sky united in a swampy soup of […]

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Poetry

Dear Jack

by Lizzie Searle Dear Jack, Darling I miss you. It hurts this far away. It’s pleasurable. I know you miss me so much more than I miss you. You’re needy and pathetic and rich. I love you. I love the nights we sing together, huddled on the same piano stool or better still when I […]

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Poetry

Et In Arcadia Ego

by Alexander Walls Such a phrase, of course, we may not oft hear, Yet what is Eden?  What is paradise? We idolise an Arcadian past; We long for a Utopian future. How will any of these dreams come to pass? We must refocus.  Clouds block out the light Bringing gloom and dusk.  Clouding our vision […]

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Poetry

Catch Me If You Can

by Jenny Potter Smudges of neon watercolour stain The powder blue of the heavens. Towering stems slash at bare shins, Marking pink, criss-crossed fire Across epidermal brickwork. Fields dusted with poisoned petals Glow yellow in the waning sun. Rich greenery shrouds footed clay Leading through lush summer growth To trees of suitability: tall, spindly, straight […]

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Prose

Morning

by Lucy Mellor Hazy sunbeams glide effortlessly through the bay window and seep across the ancient wooden floor. Unashamedly they stream through pure white curtains and gently stir the couple entwined in a large white bed. Slowly coming into the world, comforted by the warm heaviness of being home with no imminent desire to be […]

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Comment, Prose

The Hills

by Eleanor Harris The view from the top is never the same, although I know every hold. One of the few things you can rely on in Snowdonia is, perhaps paradoxically, that it will always be changing; and yet, despite the dramatic seasonal changes, the ancient hills are consistently compelling. All year, it is as […]

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Poetry

All the Blues I’ve Ever Known

by Rebecca Slater All the blues I’ve ever known add up to this – this single perfect blue which is really a thousand blues, bottled up like the beachedblue glass on my mother’s mantelpiece, my father’s bluebuttoned shirt stained from Sunday afternoons painting my brother’s blue-walled bedroom – a boyish bias, ever since that blue […]

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Artwork

Kitty and the TV

Eve Finnie’s oil painting, “Kitty and the TV”, was recently announced as the winner to Oriel College’s Gower Memorial Prize. She says, “This is a painting of my little sister (Kitty) doing various activities after school layered over each other from the point of view of the television, which was playing throughout the evening.” You can download […]

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Artwork

Of Strange Folk and Monsters

  Charlie Willis’ collection of black and white drawings was recently announced as a runner-up of Oriel College’s Gower Memorial Prize. She says, ‘My inspiration for these pictures was the work of Arthur Rackham and traditional European fairytales. In these photographs of my original drawings I wanted to convey a thoughtful stillness and a sense […]

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Comment, Prose

Good Place, No Place

by Emma Gilpin When Thomas More wrote his Utopia in 1516, he described a society that was in many ways the polar opposite to his own, Tudor England. At the time, many critics believed he was writing an instructive text that could be read as a guideline for the improvement of European society. As we […]

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Comment, Prose

Reconstructed Utopia

by Aidan Chivers In the latter part of the 1st C BC, the Emperor Augustus’ obsession with Roman sexual morality was based largely on drawing contrasts between the behaviour of his day and the perceived standards of former times. Seeing moral decline as being in parallel with wider national failings, he linked the greater chastity […]

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Humour

Oriel Reacts to a Trump Presidency…

Eoin Monaghan [at 4am, on my entering the JCR] – ‘Go back to bed, Alex. The apocalypse has already happened.’ Wesley Rawlings – ‘This is far more than something new. Syphilis would be new for me – doesn’t mean that I want it. The American people have given the White House “the clap”.’ Will Cook […]

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Comment, Prose

Relative Dystopia

by Christy Callaway-Gale In two separate incidents during the same week, my dad was mistaken for my boyfriend and my mum was mistaken for my grandma, which told me everything I didn’t want to know, yet already knew, about society. This is how a life-changing article on gender norms on the front page of the […]

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Poetry

Christopher

by Tom Davy The ceiling splays a fresco for the crowds. The round Sheldonian, Truth lies on high And falls like words of Latin from the clouds Whose black betrays the turquoise of their sky. Time is not ours. So every stroke of brush That paints the ring paints every second too; We find ourselves […]

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Culture, Prose

The Origins of Chaos, or the English Spelling Explained

by Anna Wawrzonkowska In 1992, Gerard Nolst Trenité, a Dutch academic and linguist, wrote his famous poem: the Chaos. It is, perhaps, the best summary of the helpless confusion any non-native speaker feels when put against the whirling maelstrom of English spelling and pronunciation. Dearest creature in creation Studying English pronunciation, I will teach you […]

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Comment, Prose

My Perfect Life: A Careful and Complex Design

by Emma Gilpin The squares line up evenly and perfectly, forming a beautifully neat grid which I can scroll through, a photographic record of all the best moments of my life from the ages of 15 to 19. Four years of my little life, cherry picked to create a filtered reel of selected highlights. This […]

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Poetry

Talking

by Lizzie Searle I am talking. Silently. I tap the little places on the screen with my thumbs. You’re there when I type, listening in my head. I have finished talking and look into your invisible face. You don’t say anything. You disappear from where you weren’t. I look back at my talking. Childish words […]

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Poetry

Sky

by Lucy Mellor  “Is the sky blue?” Said sarcastically – Analogous to “Is the Pope Catholic?” As though the Pope Changes his faith With sunrise And sunset.   A mutiny of colours Largely unobserved Hang wistfully Waiting for acceptance Until time’s end – Rendering ordinary Each blue sky And white cloud.   It’s getting colder […]

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Poetry

Statues

by Aidan Chivers   A willow emerges from his watery roots, Holds his rippling partner in a tight embrace – She dangles, trusting, floating on her icy bed: He stands, and holds, and feels, and breathes.   Across the water, in the moonlit air, Two statues, breathless, face each other and gaze, Formed by the […]

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