The American poet Alicia Stallings (A. E. Stallings as she appears on a magazine's Table of Contents) is on the short list of candidates for the Oxford Professor of Poetry. If elected, she will be the first woman to hold the post.
We hope she gets the job! And if you are a graduate of Oxford, you can cast your vote for her by registering on line here. You must act quickly; voter registration will close on June 8 in the UK (June 7 in the US). Voting will conclude on Wednesday 17 June 2015.
Stallings studied Classics at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, and later at Oxford. She is much honored for her poetry -- with accolades including the Richard Wilbur award and the Poets’ Prize. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been a Guggenheim Fellow and holds a MacArthur Fellowship. The MacArthur Foundation’s citation says she mines "the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft works that evoke startling insights about contemporary life." Her work has been set to music by eight composers. An accomplished translator, she has rendered Lucretius into rhymed fourteeners.. A translation of Hesiod is forthcoming from Penguin. She has also translated modern Greek verse into English. Her poems have been included in several volumes of The Best American Poetry, including the 2015 volume forthcoming this fall. She has lived in Athens, Greece, since 1999.You can read Stallings’ candidate statement here.
The Professor of Poetry at Oxford dates to 1708. Matthew Arnold, twice elected to the position, (in 1857 and 1862), created the professorship in its modern form: Arnold spoke about literary matters of contemporary concern, and was the first to deliver his lectures in English as opposed to Latin. If elected, Stallings will be 45th Professor of Poetry and the first woman to hold the post.
The Oxford chair of poetry has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious and prominent posts in the field. Previous incumbents have included Matthew Arnold, A.C. Bradley, C. Day-Lewis, W.H. Auden, Robert Graves, Roy Fuller, Peter Levi, Seamus Heaney, James Fenton, Paul Muldoon, and Christopher Ricks. The incumbent is Geoffrey Hill. "Making, Knowing and Judging," Auden's inaugural Oxford lecture, which he delivered on June 11, 1956, is reprinted in his book The Dyer's Hand.