18 june 2010

Geoffrey Hill triumphs as Professor of Poetry

Arts | University

Geoffrey Hill was declared the winner of the election for Professor of Poetry at a meeting of Convocation.
Geoffrey Hill was declared the winner of the election for Professor of Poetry at a meeting of Convocation.

After a highly public election campaign featuring a wide range of candidates, Geoffrey Hill has been elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford with 1,156 votes. He will be the 44th Professor of Poetry since the role was created in 1708.

Interest in Oxford’s Professor of Poetry election reached a peak this year following the introduction of new voting procedures. More than 2,500 votes were cast in person and online between 21 May and 16 June to elect a successor to Christopher Ricks.

The full vote breakdown was as follows:

Geoffrey Hill            1,156 votes

Michael Horovitz        353 votes

Sean Haldane        214 votes

Chris Mann            183 votes

Roger Lewis        167 votes

Steve Larkin         138 votes

Robert P Lacey        101 votes

Stephen Moss        81 votes

Michael George Gibson    34 votes

Vaughan Pilikian        28 votes

Dr Seamus Perry, Deputy Chair of the English Faculty Board, which hosts the chair, said: ‘We are glad that so many people wanted to vote under the new arrangements for the election of the Professor of Poetry; and are simply delighted that a poet of Geoffrey Hill's eminence has emerged victorious.  Besides being a great poet, he is also a critic and lecturer of great distinction and we look forward to his lectures over the next few years as the 44th Professor of Poetry.’

Geoffrey Hill will bring his distinctive poetic voice to the role of Professor of Poetry. 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.