Alice Oswald Named Oxford Professor of Poetry
June 27, 2019
Alice Oswald has made history by becoming the first elected female Professor of Poetry at Oxford University in three centuries. Established in 1708, the position is one of the most highly regarded honors for poetry in the UK. Each professor serves a four-year post with responsibilities that include providing a public lecture each term, as well as an oration at Oxford’s honorary degree ceremony every other year.
Oswald was the clear favorite in the running, winning in a landslide with 1,046 votes. Oswald stated that after a “distinctly unsettling process” she was “very pleased, daunted, grateful to my nominators. I look forward to thinking about all forms of poetry, but particularly the fugitive airborne forms.”
Born in 1966, Alice Oswald was trained as a classicist at the University of Oxford. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), received a Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. Oswald is known to produce book-length projects around themes of her dedicated interests in ecology, gardening, and music. Some of her other awards include the Eric Gregory Award, Arts Foundation Award for Poetry, Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and the Ted Hughes Award.
Oswald will succeed Simon Armitage and will begin her post on October 1, 2019.
Image Credit: Antonio Olmos/The Observer