Andrew Motion ‘No’ to Oxford chair

LAST UPDATED AT 13:54 ON Tue 17 Feb 2009

The retiring poet laureate Andrew Motion does not want to be considered for the role of Oxford Professor of Poetry, who will be elected this spring. Although he has been tipped as a strong contender for the position once held by WH Auden, Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon, Motion says: "I want a break from this sort of public poeting for a bit."

Motion says the post is in "drastic need of an overhaul" and has been "outflanked by creative writing courses". Also - just like his current job, which comes to an end this year - the money is lousy. "The pay's too little, the teaching requirements too vague, and the voting system simply farcical," he says.

One person who is not put off by all the above is Ruth Padel, the great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin and author of Darwin - a Life in Poems. She has confirmed that she will will stand for the role, as will Canadian poet Ann Carson and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. Said Padel: "People are planning to nominate me. Not my idea."

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