Favourite Geoffrey Hill elected Professor of Poetry

first_imgKeble College alumnus, Geoffrey Hill has been appointed to the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry. Hill was favourite for the position and secured more than three times the votes of his nearest rival, Michael Horovitz. Following the introduction of new online voting procedures, over 2,500 votes were cast by Oxford graduates and tutors between 21 May and 26 June to elect a successor to Christopher Ricks. The last poet to hold the position, Ruth Padel, resigned last May after less than a fortnight when it emerged that she had alerted journalists to allegations of sexual harassment made against front-runner Derek Walcott. However, this year’s contest also descended into controversy when the only woman candidate, Paula Claire pulled out of the race, complaining that Hill benefited from obsequious coverage in the Oxford Gazette, the university’s official journal. The University denied any favouritism. Hill will start his five year term this autumn on an annual stipend of £6,901. As well as giving a public lecture every term, Professors must also “encourage the art of poetry in the University”, according to the University’s regulations. An award-winning writer, Hill follows in the footsteps of W H Auden, Paul Muldoon and Seamus Heaney who served as Professor of Poetry since the post was created in 1708. As well as his collections of poetry, notably King Log and Speech! Speech!, Hill has published several books of essays and taught at universities in the UK, US and Nigeria. “Besides being a great poet, he is also a critic and lecturer of great distinction and we look forward to his lectures over the next few years as the 44th Professor of Poetry.” Dr Seamus Perry, deputy chair of Oxford’s English faculty board, which hosts the chair, said: “We are glad that so many people wanted to vote under the new arrangements for the election of the Professor of Poetry; and are simply delighted that a poet of Geoffrey Hill’s eminence has emerged victorious.last_img read more