Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Write Club day 2: Springwatch and Poetry

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Springwatch on BBC1 last night. Chris Packham is a fine addition to the team and himself and Kate seem to be in sync. I thought the badgers were amazing, I'm praying for the lapwing chicks and I can't wait to see the wild polecat.

The furore over the Oxford University Professor of Poetry job debacle is still raging. Ruth Padel has resigned after a few days in the job, because she has been revealed to be the source of allegations about fellow nominee Derek Walcott. DW pulled out because of allegations regarding his propositioning students many years ago. I suppose the first question is whether past unproven (I believe) indiscretions should affect your ability to apply for a prestigous position later on in life. I wholeheartedly believe that a) if the allegations are not true, why did he pull out? and b) yes they should affect your ability to secure a position of power and influence, and if they are true, he should not be offered the psotion until he has least served some penance for any crime.

The second question is whether Padel is using 'dirty tricks'? I'd answer no to that question, but she defintely acted unwisely. She certainly doesn't deserve public vilification.

Thirdly, and to me, most importantly, why haven't I heard of either of them before? I am not an expert on poetry but if they are both so amazing I would have expected to at least vaguely know their work (rather than merely their personal struggles).

The job sounds like a poisoned chalice, and I hope whoever takes it on has a completely unblemished record together with top class poetic (and mediation) skills.

Good luck finding them, Oxford.

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