Indian poet faces defeat in top Oxford job race

May 17th, 2009 - 5:05 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 17 (ANI): Indian poet Arvind Mehrotra has lost the chair of Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford to British classical scholar Ruth Padel.

Mehrotra lost the battle to Padel, who became the first female to hold the post since its inception in 1708, by 297 votes to 129 with 51 ballot papers spoilt.

The race for the academic appointment was said to have been stained by a dirty tricks row, reports Times Online.

Derek Walcott, who had previously been the favourite to win the position, withdrew candidacy after a dossier containing details of a sexual assault allegation against the Nobel laureate whilst he was teaching at Harvard University found its way to those eligible to vote in the election.

The St Lucia-born poet removed himself from the competition stating the use of “low tactics” as the cause.

Padel and writer John Walsh, who penned the Harvard story, were rumoured to be behind the mailings, a claim that both deny.

Padel said: “I was completely devastated when I heard about [Walcott] withdrawing. I have had nothing to do with it. I feel I am tainted by the whole thing.

“I admire Walcott and deplore what happened. But it does not seem to me to detract from what I can do [as professor].” (ANI)

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