Alumni can help pick Geoffrey Hill’s successor to the Oxford Chair of Poetry. But registration is about to close!
Five candidates are standing for election to become the next Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, and you can help make the final choice.
The nominees are Simon Armitage, Ian Gregson, Seán Haldane, Wole Soyinka and A E Stallings. The winning poet will succeed Professor Geoffrey Hill in October 2015.
Voting, which runs until Wednesday 17 June, is open to members of Convocation — and if you’re reading this page that’s probably you. Convocation includes all former student members of the University who have been admitted to a degree (other than an honorary degree) of the University. It also includes all members of Congregation (the ‘dons’ parliament’ of the University).
However, if you want to vote you need to register before Monday (8 June) at midday BST. Simply go to the registration site and fill in your details.
Seamus Perry, Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, said: ‘Oxford's Professorship of Poetry is one of the most famous and illustrious positions in the world of letters, and the Chair has been occupied by some of our greatest writers, both poets and critics. It has been an honour and a delight to have Geoffrey Hill in the post, and he will be a hard act to follow. I am delighted to have such a strong and diverse list of candidates for this year's election.’
All candidates received at least 50 nominations by members of Convocation. The candidates’ statements are now published online.
The Professor of Poetry is appointed every four years and the responsibilities of the post include giving a public lecture each term and the Creweian Oration at the University’s honorary degree ceremony every other year.
Previous holders of the post include John Keble, Matthew Arnold, W.H. Auden, Robert Graves, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, and Christopher Ricks. Arnold was the first incumbent to deliver his lectures in English rather than Latin. He was elected twice to the post, something which can no longer happen: Professors now serve for one term of office only.
The result will be announced at a meeting of Convocation on Friday 19 June.
For more information on the registration process and other questions, see the FAQs document on the University website.
In case you missed it, here’s the registration site again.
Rainbow over Broad Street © John Garth.