I can’t imagine anything involving Geoffrey Hill being not serious, but there is a drop of comedy here, if unintentional. If you use Facebook as a measurement, and scientifically-speaking, why wouldn’t you?, the slam guy is in the lead.
Promises to use poetry as a “weapon, bloodsoaked and glinting” and plans for a poetry slam contest suggest the competition for the role of Oxford poetry professor is heating up. The 11 candidates have each laid out their reasons for standing â€“ one of them entirely in verse.
“I thought it might be oh-so hip / to win me a professorship, / and so I thought I’d write this note / to woo, to wow, to win your vote,” writes Robert P Lacey, a medic who says if he were to be voted in by Oxford graduates, he’d write a poem a week and post it online, and also “form another, smallish prize / for poetry that please my eyes”.
Outsider Lacey is up against best-known candidate Geoffrey Hill, whose backer, Professor Dame Averil Cameron, describes him as “a lecturer of unrivalled power, whose standing as a poet gives his discourse an added dimension”. Hill might be the most eminent writer in the running, but Oxford-based performance poet Steve Larkin is currently the frontrunner in terms of supporters, with 317 members in his campaigning Facebook group, compared with Hill’s 227.