Alice Oswald is tipped to become the first female Oxford Professor of Poetry, according to The Sunday Times. Elections are expected to be held this term to select a successor to Simon Armitage, who currently holds the position.
The professorship is one of the most prestigious positions for poets, behind the Laureateship. Previously the position has been held by poets such as Seamus Heaney and Matthew Arnold.
A woman has previously been elected to the position, with Ruth Padel winning the vote in 2009, but Padel resigned just nine days after the vote, before she had officially begun the role.
Oswald, who read Classics at New College, received critical acclaim for her collection Dart. The collection was inspired by her research into the history, environment and community along the River Dart in Devon.
In 1994, Oswald won the Eric Gregory award, and in 1996 her collection The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. Oswald’s work has since been recognised by numerous other awards, including the T.S. Eliot Prize and an Arts Foundation Award for Poetry.
The Professor of Poetry is responsible for giving a termly public lecture: current Professor, Simon Armitage, has lectured on a wide range of themes including his work on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Oswald is supported by the poet Craig Raine and Emma Smith, Oxford Professor of Shakespeare Studies.