My Oxford All Nighter


I'm excited to be speaking about the Alliance next Friday at NOT The Oxford Literary Festival (NTOLF).

This event was started two years ago by writer/performers who were frustrated by the high admission prices at the … yes…Oxford Literary Festival.

Frustrated too by the lack of representation at the festival of Oxford's brilliant underground and spoken-word scene.

As self-publishing's potential to bring underground and grassroots voices to their readers is one of my main motivations in starting the Alliance, how could I say no?

Especially as NTOLF is centred around a bookstore I am longing to visit since I heard about it, The Albion Beatnik.

And as the event has such a fantastic line-up.

AND – the clincher – as it's also running an all-night event, ‘Let's Paint Oxford With Poetry'.

We want “to see Oxford wake up to a city filled with poetry,” says Dan Holloway, one of the organisers. “We won’t actually be painting, but we will be leaving leaflets at bus stops and in phone boxes, putting posters through cafe doors and various other things. And each one will have a poem on it.'

Blackwell's Bookstore has given permission for a poem to be pasted to their door and left there all day Saturday. I'm honoured that the organisers have chosen my ‘The Writer's Call' to be that poem.

As you probably won't be in Oxford this weekend, here it is for you now:

The Writer’s Call

Your words must wash the floor for love,
I heard it all declare. I kissed my pen,
swore this decree to air.

Then set to work on bended knee, a childlike creep
through house and street, to clean through
what’s encrusted there.

It’s done for you, kind reader, dear,
who walks my words across the page,
who seeks clear ground in marks I make:

the glisten in your gleaning eye,
that shines with mine, us both to see
how in the clearing, all can be.

And of course if you are in Oxford on Friday night, leave the corporate-celebrity-ticketed readings where they are and come to Albion Beatnik for the real deal.


Orna Ross


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