Wednesday, May 27, 2009



Disappointing news: Ruth Padel, newly named Oxford Professor of Poetry (and the first woman ever named to that post since its inception 300 years ago) has now resigned - ten days into her professorship we find out she played a part in the smear campaign against the other nominee, Derek Walcott. I posted a link to one of her wonderful poems just a few days ago. She's Darwin's great-great-granddaughter, but I think there's some devolution going on here - backwards to the tooth-and-claw stage, instead of forward to the share-and-share-alike stage. It's sad to think that writers can be as competitive as Wall Street sharks. The NY Times calls it a "saga of skullduggery" and I agree. Maybe anyone who really wants to eat at the Big Table engages in this kind of nasty behavior - the jockeying for position, the backstabbing, the "networking" that has nothing to do with friendship? It makes me want to run the other direction, thanks. Here's a link to the complicated news at The New York Times.
Quick note: I've been getting some spam in my blog comments so I've opted to moderate all comments now. I'm fairly efficient with this....


  1. Skullduggery and politics have always played a part in these things. The part of the saga that disqualifies her from the post, in my opinion, is that she consistently and publicly denied any part in the smear campaign while it was happening. One imagines a measure of honesty is critical in such an important post.

  2. Absolutely right, Gingatao -it's the duplicity that is amazing. I emailed someone who thought right from the outset that Padel might be involved, and I told her "No way - she is obviously appalled." Not too appalled, I guess....I'm now waiting to see if she actually had something to do with the anonymous packets, not just the calls to reporters.