Home Page.

What is Tower Poetry?

Tower Poetry exists to encourage and challenge everyone who reads or writes poetry. Funded by a generous bequest to Christ Church, University of Oxford, by the late Christopher Tower, the aims of Tower Poetry are clear: to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education, and to challenge people to write their own poetry. Creative writing should be a central element in literary education, and learning about writing poetry can help students to think about ways of reading poetry.

The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2016

The winners of the 2016 Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, were announced at the prizegiving in Oxford on 20 April. At a lunchtime reception in Christ Church, Ashani Lewis, from The Tiffin Girls’ School, Surrey, was awarded the £3,000 first prize for her poem ‘Flowers From The Dark’.


Find out more including competition winners from 2016


The winners of the 2016 competition with the Dean of Christ Church, The Very Reverend Professor Martyn Percy.


Join our mailing list to receive our newsletter.

Your Email Address

Summer School 2016

The 10th Tower Poetry Summer School for young poets aged between 18-23 will be held from 30 August – 2 September 2016. Application details are now available and the closing date is 13 June.

Facebook Post

John Clegg (Tower Poetry Summer School 2008 participant) - his new book 'Holy Toledo' is out this month from Carcanet. ...

Poetry: Patrick Mackie & John Clegg

June 10, 2016, 7:30pm

PATRICK MACKIE lives in Gloucestershire. Recently published by CBeditions is The Further Adventures of the Lives of the Saints; an earlier collection, Excerpts From the Memoirs Of A Fool, was published by Carcanet when patrick was in his early twenties, and he has been published since by Poetry Review and the Paris Review. He was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard in the late-1990s, and has just finished a book on Mozart. JOHN CLEGG was born in Chester in 1986, and grew up in Cambridge. In 2013, he won an Eric Gregory Award. He works as a bookseller in London; tonight he joins the big boys. Holy Toledo! has been published recently by Carcanet. Free entry; refreshment is available. The Further Adventures of the Lives of the Saints - The river Rhine starts to flow through Gloucestershire. Someone reads Russian poetry as a general election approaches. The people who live on the sun turn out to be worried about the people down here on earth – who include, in other poems, John Wayne and Osip Mandelstam, Simone Weil and Margaret Thatcher and Amy Winehouse. Casting its lines across rainfall and motorways and the lives of the saints alike, mining a wild humour from the vastness of our cultural disarray, this book gives a new account of what the modern lyric is capable of. Holy Toledo! - Sometime during the twentieth century, the self-mythology of the literary critic fused with that of the cowboy: lone outriders practising a defunct trade. In Holy Toldedo! John Clegg tracks the critic's silhouette over the dangerous, sun-drenched landscapes of New Mexico, California, Nashville, Utah, Oxford, Cambridge, and London. Here is Donald Davie listening to gospel radio in a Nashville taxi, and here is F. R. Leavis standing on a chair, 'unscrewing instead the world from round the lightbulb'. Vistas of bristlecone and citrus groves, pocked with fruit flies and rain birds, fuse with the glib-core of Oxbridge England, the university science labs where 'all three entrances felt like the back way'.

View on Facebook

Twitter Feed

YouTube Feature

Ian McMillan and Helen Mort discuss how competitions help young poets; what makes a winning poem and the value of the Christopher Tower Poetry competition from Christ Church, University of Oxford.

Back to Top