Football, sex and poetry

Sarah Kanowski; 2/6/09

Sarah Kanowski is a writer, and a producer with Philip Adams’ ABC Radio National program Late Night Live.

The British newspapers have suddenly become interested in poetry. It’s not a passion for scansion that’s occupying them, however, but the much more reliable subject of sex and celebrity. It proves that sex scandals can make celebrities out of the most unlikely figures, even poets. In the last few months Derek Walcott and Ruth Padel had been vying for the position of professor of poetry at Oxford University. It is a role second only to the laureateship in terms of status, and much less onerous. The professor gives a series of public lectures on poetry, is treated to a round of port and beef from the colleges, and escapes having to write the kind commemorative verse which blights those poets anointed by the Crown.