Five candidates are standing for election to become the next Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford.
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 for the post opens today (22 May) and runs until 17 June. Voting is by members of Convocation who must register to vote between 13 April and 8 June (at midday BST) by going to the registration site.
Convocation consists of all former student members of the University who have been admitted to a degree (other than an honorary degree) of the University, and all members of Congregation (the ‘dons’ parliament’ of the University).
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 have now been published.
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.
Members of Convocation must register their intention to vote by going to theregistration site. Once they have submitted their request to register and confirmed this via an emailed link to their email account, their details will be checked to ensure they are a member of Convocation. Voters must register by Monday 8 June 2015.