terça-feira, maio 26, 2009

First woman professor of poetry at Oxford resigns

First woman professor of poetry at Oxford resigns

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT?: Ruth Padel tipped off two reporters about stories on rival Derek Walcott, sparking an uproar. Allegations of sexism follow her resignation THE GUARDIAN, LONDON Wednesday, May 27, 2009, Page 6

Ruth Padel, the first woman elected as Oxford’s professor of poetry, has resigned following claims she tipped off journalists about allegations that her chief rival for the post, Derek Walcott, had sexually harassed students.
Padel won the vote 10 days ago, but in a statement on Monday night she 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. 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,” Patel said.

She said she had acted in “good faith” and would have been “happy to lose to Derek, but I can see that people might interpret my actions otherwise. I wish to do what is best for the university and I understand that opinion there is divided. I therefore resign from the chair of poetry.”

The reaction from the literary world was one of sadness. “I think she would have worked very hard in that job, and she had excellent plans,” novelist Rose Tremain said. “In the year that Carol Ann Duffy became the [British] poet laureate, it would have been fantastic to have had the duo. It is a tragedy. But there is a moral question here — and I think it is unanswerable,” Tremain said.

“It’s a pity she has been backed into a corner. What she has done is so much more trivial than her contribution to poetry. This feels malicious and nasty. We ought to be able to look beyond the woman to the poetry,” novelist Jeanette Winterson said.

“This is a way of reducing women; it wouldn’t have happened to a man. But then Oxford is a sexist little dump,” Winterson said.

The poet Jackie Kay said: “This was the first time that we had a woman as Oxford professor of poetry — and she has had to resign over two e-mails. The old boys have closed in on her. It would not have happened to a man, and I am very sad.”

Writer Amit Chaudhuri, one of the supporters of the campaign for Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, the remaining serious contender for the poetry post, said: “I feel bad for Ruth; and I also feel the professorship has been run dry in the worst possible way. One is left with no enthusiasm about the whole thing.

“Though I have had no opportunity to speak about this to my candidate, I am not sure whether he would want to try again, but we will see,” Chaudhuri said. “When something gets involved in a publicity machine there is no saying where it will stop. It was Padel who instigated the publicity machine and it has gone completely out of control. It is very sad,” he said.

The so-called smear campaign saw up to 100 Oxford academics sent photocopied pages from a book detailing a sexual harassment claim made against Walcott by a student at Harvard University in 1982. Widely felt to be the favored candidate of the Oxford English faculty, the Nobel laureate resigned from the race on 12 May.

Commenting on Padel’s decision not to take up the post, Oxford University said: “We respect the decision that Ruth Padel has taken. This has been a difficult chapter for all concerned and a period of reflection may now be in order.”

It is understood the university will hold a fresh election — but probably not in time for a professor to be in post by October, when Christopher Ricks, the incumbent, officially steps down. This story has been viewed 134 times.

FONTE: Taipei Times - Taipei,Taiwan

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário