Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oxford Poetry Professors Resigns Poetry Chair After Smear Campaign

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm not a University of Oxford Professor of Poetry
And neither are you.

Ruth Padel, the University of Oxford's Professor of Poetry resigned nine days after taking the position, after emailing journalists about sexual harassment claims against Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, her competition for the post.

In other news, there are journalists who cover poetry.

Padel, 63, admitted that she had emailed the journalists about decades-old sexual harassment claims against Walcott

According to the (London) Daily Times, Padel said, "I genuinely believe that I did nothing intentional that led to Derek Walcott’s withdrawal from the election. I wish he had not pulled out."

Feminist deconstructionist poetry critics then decried her use of a male-oriented double entendre.

"I did not engage in a smear campaign against him but, as a result of student concern, I naively — and with hindsight unwisely — passed on to two journalists, whom I believed to be covering the whole election responsibly, information that was already in the public domain," Padel said, without rhyming a single word.

In other news, there are journalists who cover elections to poetry professorships.

If she was really concerned about the students, she should have made her concerns known to administrators after the election, not to journalists beforehand.

Walcott dropped out of the race after information about sexual harassment allegations made about Walcott in 1982 — 27 years ago — was mailed cowardly anonymously to more than 100 Oxford professors.

Padel denied being a part of that cowardly act, but did admit to the other cowardly act of emailing journalists about him. "Some supporters add that what he does for students can be found in a book called The Lecherous Professor, reporting one of his two recorded cases of sexual harassment and that Obama is rumoured to have turned him down for his inauguration poem because of the sexual record. But I don’t think that’s fair." said Patel's email.

Professor A.C. Grayling, a former supporter of Padel's, will make a formal complaint to Oxford administrators.

"The professorship is a very serious thing. This is dirty tricks and character assassination," he told the Times, also without rhyming. "I didn’t think Ruth would win against Walcott. When he withdrew, I thought it was absolutely wrong and there was no way that the Oxford professorship should be run on this business of sexual harassment — it should be run on the merits of the poetry."

In other news, merits of poetry now considered a viable job skill. Thousands of McDonald's cashiers rejoice.


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