| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Oxford University Appoints First Woman Professor of Poetry

Daily News

Online Only, posted 5.18.09

Two weeks after Great Britain appointed its first ever woman poet laureate, Oxford University has elected its first female professor of poetry. Oxford alumna Ruth Padel, who succeeds Christopher Ricks, joins the ranks of poets Matthew Arnold, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney in the position, created in 1708.

"I feel honored and humbled to be given this responsibility, and shall try to carry it out as well as I can," said Padel, the Guardian reported. The poet, who is particularly interested in uniting poetry and science, vowed to "explore what poems can give to students…in the humanities and sciences. To encourage, across the university, the reading, the writing and above all the enjoying of poetry, ancient and modern, in all its richness and variety."

Oxford alumni and faculty elected Padel, who was up for the position along with Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and, until last Tuesday, Derek Walcott. The Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean poet dropped out of the race following an anonymous letter campaign notifying Oxford faculty of sexual harassment charges brought against Walcott when he was a professor at Harvard.

Days before Saturday’s election, a former student of Walcott's at Boston University who had also brought harassment charges against the poet, published a letter in the Times of London calling Walcott "the greatest living poet." Urging Oxford to halt the election process to give those involved time to consider the situation, novelist N. M. Kelby criticized the letter campaign and endorsed her former mentor, writing, "Derek Walcott is not an evil man. Like any man, he is flawed. But, like any great man, he is retrospect and understands that his flaws are universal. And from them, he creates art."

Padel, who the Guardian reported to be "visibly upset" by Walcott’s withdrawal, will assume the professorship at the end of September.

Reader Comments

City Guide

by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

Upcoming Events
Walt Whitman Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center
November 1, 2014 (All day)
Hilton Garden Inn
November 1, 2014 - 9:30am
Writespace Houston
November 1, 2014 - 10:00am
Poetry/Fiction/Creative Nonfiction
Centre for Social Innovation
November 1, 2014 - 10:00am
Walt Whitman Birthplace
November 1, 2014 - 2:00pm
Conferences & Residencies
Salt Cay, Bahamas
West Cork, Ireland
Riga, Latvia
Writing Contests
Fordham University at Lincoln Center
Provincetown OuterMost Community Radio
American Library Association
Magazine Articles

by Staff

November/December 2014

Artist and architect Matteo Pericoli pairs drawings of views from the desks of writers around the world with essays by those writers about where they write, what they see, and how their view informs their work

by Mira Ptacin

November/December 2014

Despite struggles, libraries are learning to navigate the ever-changing, and often cost-prohibitive, landscape of digital lending.


Directory of Writers
Fiction Writer
Sharon, MA
Poet, Fiction Writer
Honolulu, HI
Berkeley, CA

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2014. All Rights Reserved