It’s here! Oxford is My Home: The Lockdown Edition

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In my last post, I called for submissions for our latest issue of ‘Oxford is My Home’: The Lockdown Edition.

To be honest, we had no idea whether we’d get enough contributions to put the zine on. So we were bowled over by the number and range of people, who chose to send in their creative expression about what life in Oxford has been like during the coronavirus. We received such a diverse collection of ideas: ranging from prose to poetry, photography, cartoons, fine art, videos, and even an interactive story.

Over the last month, we’ve been working hard to collate these into an online publication which LAUNCHES TODAY! Check out this very special community zine here.

Spending so much time with these pieces, looking for their common threads, gave me a much needed sense of connection to lives around Oxford during this time of isolation. I’ve tried to articulate this in the Editorial which you can read here.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this creation. This doesn’t end have to end now – if you would like to contribute then please get in touch with us at the Oxford Poetry Library website.

If you are aged 13-25 then you can also contribute to our sister publication – ‘Youth in Lockdown’ which is being launched soon by the inspiring Oxford Discovery College.

Submit by 11th May for Issue 3 of Oxford Is My Home

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The submission window for Oxford Is My Home: the Lockdown Edition closes on 11th May. So if you’d like to be a part of this zine, where we capture all the perspectives on living through corona, then here’s all the ways you can get work to us.

Email us at oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

Ring us on 0800 0096754 and leave a message and we’ll transcribe your story or poem

Post your creations to Oxford is My Home, Makespace Oxford, 1 Aristotle Lane, OX2 6TP

Need some more inspiration?

I’ve created some writing prompts to help get the creative sparks flying. Check them out on the Oxford Poetry Library website – https://oxfordpoetrylibrary.wordpress.com/news-events/ where you’ll also find all the details for how you can send your work.

Here’s my favourite:

A Strange Conversation

For strange times, why not try a nonsense poem. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!

  1. Write down a list of 8 questions which you could ask someone to understand their experience of lockdown (we have some ideas to start you off).
  2. Answer each questions using exactly 8 words. If you fancy more of a challenge, rhyme your answers with an A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D structure.
  3. Now mix up each question with a different answer from your list.
  4. You can also try a different version where you remove all of the questions, and shape your poem just from the answers.

If you are with someone else you can also try this version.

  1. Each person writes the 8 questions they would like to ask.
  2. Swap your pages and answer the other person’s question using exactly 8 words.
  3. Then mix all the questions and answers up to create two zany poems.

Poem ‘This Love’ published in Bath Magg’s April issue.

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I’ve been a fan of Bath Magg ever since its first issue in 2019. I love their thoughtful editorials and the vibrant collection of poetry, which is carefully arranged by editors Joe Carrick-Varty and Mariah Whelan.

So, what a delight to have a poem featured in their April edition! Please have a read of the whole magazine, including ‘This love’ here.

Poems as lives, skins you can slip on easy as a glove, until all of a sudden you’re not watching another episode of Tiger King but inhabiting a kind of love which is ‘not the first thing you remember’, a kind of love which ‘runs from bees’, which ‘wears a high viz jacket, waves semaphore flags’, a love which is ‘the first clap in a sustained standing ovation following an amateur production of Cats’ (of course it is!) as Rowena Cooper’s ‘This love’ so stunningly conjures and sings.

Joe Carrick-Varty, on behalf of the editorial team. Bath Magg April 2020.

The Covid-19 Quaranzine: Stories of ‘Home’ from Behind Closed Doors

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As a result of Covid-19, our homes have transformed. Bedrooms have become offices, living rooms have become classrooms, gardens have become gyms, and every house has become a cage of sorts.

Some people without a home have found one whilst others have been evicted, and many, many people live with the uncertainty of not being able to afford to keep theirs.

‘Oxford is My Home’ is a zine produced by Oxford Poetry Library and Open House which uses words and pictures to tell the hidden stories of housing and homelessness in Oxford and what it means to call this city ‘home’.

For our third issue, we want to know what #StayatHome looks like for you? How are you spending your days? Who are you with? Are you enjoying yourself? What are you worried about? What do you miss about being able to leave your home?

Submissions are now OPEN for contributions to the zine. You can submit poems, stories, pictures, comic strips, or any other creative reflection which you can figure out a way of getting to us.

You can:

– Email us at oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

–  Ring us on 0800 0096754 and leave a message and we’ll transcribe your story or poem

The deadline is 11 May.

Please keep written submissions within 500 words. For any questions contact oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

Stuck for inspiration? Why not try one of these easy exercises alone, or with others to get your creative juices flowing!

Writing a Poem

Start with the phrase ‘What happened today?’ and then keep writing non-stop for 3 minutes. Don’t think too hard about what you write because this is just to get started and see where your mind takes you. You don’t even need to try and make it like a poem. The only aim is to keep writing for the full 3 minutes.

Look back at what you wrote. Find one word, sentence or phrase that you particularly like. Could this be a start of a poem?

Explore your chosen words. Are there other words which mean something similar or the opposite? Does this word rhyme with anything else? This will lead you to the next line.

Try using all 5 senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound to bring your poem to life.

Remember: there are really no rules to what make a good poem. They might rhyme or they might not. They might be long or short. The most important thing is to enjoy writing!

Short Stories

Think about the experiences you have had when living in isolation – was there something funny, upsetting, uplifting or unexpected which happened to you?

Stories also allow us to explore alternative realities. Perhaps you would like to change what happened in real-life. Ask yourself ‘what else could have happened’ or ‘wouldn’t it be funny if’ and see if this changes where your story goes.

You can also try making up a character. What if your experience happened to someone completely different? Maybe they are a different age to you, a unique job, or have a personality flaw. What would they do differently in this situation?

A story only needs three things – a beginning, a middle, and an ending. What would be a good place to start and to end your story?

Life-Writing

This is where you simply write about what you are experiencing in your life now. These ideas might help to get started:

  • Write a letter to your future self – what would you like them to remember about what is happening right now?
  • Write a letter to an alien – imagine you are describing your situation to someone who has no knowledge of what is happening on Earth today

Interview Yourself. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!