More on Anonymous Campaign against Walcott

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The London Guardian has published today an article detailing the anonymous campaign against Derek Walcott’s candidacy for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry. Dossiers containing allegations of sexual harassment against Walcott dating back more than a decade have been mailed anonymously to potential voters. The article covers similar ground to the piece in the Times we reported about yesterday (see “The Race for Oxford Poetry Professor Is Now Decidedly Nasty”), except for a response from Walcott’s chief opponent, Ruth Padel. She said she had “nothing to do with it” and added: “I love Walcott’s work, I’ve written about it as a critic and learned from it as a poet. We all do; he is an important poet for British poetry.” Padel – like Walcott’s campaigners – expressed regret that the attack on Walcott’s past was detracting from the “role poetry can play in a place of learning”. She added: “An Oxford friend of mine, who happens to be supporting Walcott, said: ‘This is one of the few occasions on [which] three poets are standing against each other who would offer the students interestingly different things.’ That’s where the debate should have gone. I wish it had stayed there.”

For more on the article go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/11/smear-walcott-oxford-professor-poetry

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