Geoffrey Hill, Professor of Poetry
Geoffrey Hill, Professor of Poetry
Image taken at 2010's Encaenia. Credit: Rob Judges

Professor of Poetry

Sir Geoffrey Hill is the current Professor of Poetry. He was elected in 2010 and will be in post until 2015.

Widely considered one of the finest poets currently writing in the English language, he has won numerous awards for his work including the Hawthornden Prize and the Whitbread Award, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Hill's work, both poetry and prose, is studied in English departments across the world, and his powerful and intricate poetic voice has won him both critical praise and a wide audience. A graduate of Oxford, Hill read English at Keble College and his prolific and much honoured career as a poet has been accompanied by a series of academic posts at Bristol, Leeds, Cambridge and Boston University. While at Boston he was, with outgoing Professor of Poetry Christopher Ricks, a founding co-director of the university’s Editorial Institute.

Past Professors of Poetry

18th CenturyDate of Professorship
Joseph Trapp (1679–1747)
Thomas Warton (1688[?]–1745)
Joseph Spence (1699–1768)
John Whitfield ([?])
Robert Lowth (1710–87)
William Hawkins (1722–1801)
Thomas Warton (1728–90)
B. Wheeler ([?])
John Randolph (1749–1813)
Robert Holmes (1748–1805)
James Hurdis (1763–1801)

1708–18
1718–28
1728–38
1738–41
1741–51
1751–6
1756–66
1766–76
1776–83
1783–93
1793–1802

19th Century 
Edward Copleston (1776–1849)
John Josias Conybeare (1779–1824)
Henry Hart Milman (1791–1868)
John Keble (1792–1866)
James Garbett (1802–79)
Thomas Legh Claughton (1808–92)
Matthew Arnold (1822–88)
Sir Francis Hastings Charles Doyle (1810–88)
J C Shairp (1819–85)
Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–97)
William John Courthorpe (1842–1917)
1802–12
1812–21
1821–31
1831–42
1842–52
1852–7
1857–67
1867–77
1877–85
1885–95
1895–1900
20th Century 
A C Bradley (1851–1935)
J W Mackail (1859–1945)
Sir Thomas Herbert Warren (1853–1930)
[Vacancy]
W P Ker (1855–1923)
H W Garrod (1878–1960)
E. de Selincourt (1870–1943)
George Gordon (1881–1942)
Adam Fox (1883–1977)
[Vacancy]
Sir Maurice Bowra (1898–1971)
Cecil Day-Lewis (1904–72)
W H Auden (1907–73)
Robert Graves (1895–1985)
Edmund Blunden (1896–1974)
Roy B Fuller (1912–91)
John Wain (1925–94)
John Jones (1924– )
Peter Levi (1931–2000)
Seamus Heaney (1939–2013 )
James Fenton (1949– )
Paul Muldoon (1951– )
1901–6
1906–11
1911–16
[Vacancy 1917–19]
1920–3
1923–8
1928–33
1933–8
1938–43
[Vacancy 1944–5]
1946–51
1951–5
1956–61
1961–6
1966–8
1968–73
1973–8
1979–84
1984–9
1989–94
1994–9
1999–2004
21st Century 
Christopher Ricks (1933– )

2004–9