What writers have inspired you?

Hopkins, Clare, Wordsworth, Dickinson, Stein, Bishop, Ashbery.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by another writer?

It wasn’t given to me, or anyone, specifically, but I always liked Ashbery’s idea that ‘It’s important to try to write when you are in the wrong mood or when the weather is wrong.’ It’s a good piece of advice, I think, because it invites resistance, and prompts a host of questions which themselves might act as spurs for writing: In what sense is this activity ‘important’? What is the right mood for writing? How can weather be wrong?

What do you look for in a piece of writing?

For it to ‘resist the intelligence almost successfully’, in Stevens’s words; or for it to capable of being understood through enjoyment, to mangle Stein’s; or, as Derek Mahon suggests, for it to be a place ‘where a thought might grow’.

Dr Oli Hazzard

Oli Hazzard received his BA from University College London, his MA from Bristol and his D.Phil from Oxford for a thesis on John Ashbery. His first collection of poems, Between Two Windows (Carcanet, 2012), won the English Association’s Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, and was a book of the year in the GuardianFinancial Times and Times Literary Supplement. A pamphlet of prose poems, Within Habit, was published by Test Centre in 2014. He teaches creative writing and twentieth-century literature.

Oli is interested in twentieth and twenty-first century poetry, particularly the New York School and the Auden group. He is currently developing his D.Phil thesis – which examines John Ashbery’s relationships with W.H. Auden, F.T. Prince, Lee Harwood and Mark Ford – into a monograph, and working on a new collection of poems.


Within Habit (Test Centre, 2014)
Between Two Windows (Carcanet, 2012)


“Distanced and Intimate: John Ashbery and Lee Harwood”, in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literature, Volume 17.3, April 2014.
“John Ashbery and F.T. Prince”, in Essays on F.T. Prince (ed. Will May, Liverpool University Press, 2016).


Oli has written for a number of publications including The Times Literary SupplementMusic and LiteratureThe White Review, and PN Review.