June 25, 2019

After 300 years of men, a woman Is finally elected as Oxford Professor of Poetry


Since 1708, Oxford has elected 45 poets to its prestigious post of the Oxford Professor of Poetry. Until this year, all of them have been men.

According to Katie Mansfield of The Bookseller, the award-winning poet Alice Oswald was elected “in a landslide” over her peers. Receiving 1,046 votes, the next closest contenders Andrew McMillan and Todd Swift were given 210 and 58 votes respectively. Her term begins in October.

As Mansfield notes, the position of Oxford Professor of Poetry is a four-year term with responsibilities that include “giving a public lecture each term, as well as an oration at the University’s honorary degree ceremony every other year.”

Oswald latest collection Falling Awake (Jonathan Cape U.K. / W.W. Norton U.S.) was awarded both the 2016 Costa Prize for Poetry as well as the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize. You can read Dan Chiasson’s review of Alice Oswald’s Falling Awake here.


Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.