St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott has declared his intention to run for election to the post of Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry, a 300-year-old post that is considered « the most prestigious in poetry behind that of the poet laureate » in Great Britain. Also seeking the post is Ruth Padel, the classical scholar and poet who is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. She has been Chair of the UK Poetry Society since 2003 and is the author of Voodoo Shop (2002), Soho Leopard (2004), and Darwin: A Life in Poems (2009). If elected, she will be the first woman to hold the post.
Nominations are open until April 29 and the vote will take place on May 16th 2009, when the present incumbent, Christopher Ricks, steps down.
For more on the story see http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/16/derek-walcott-oxford-poetry