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Simon Armitage joins field for Oxford professor of poetry

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Bestselling ‘self-schooled’ poet nominated alongside Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and three others for prestigious position

Simon Armitage has thrown his hat into the ring to be the next professor of poetry at Oxford University, a prestigious position that was first established in the early 18th century and whose previous incumbents include Robert Graves and WH Auden.

The bestselling poet will be up against Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka for the five-year role, which is voted for by Oxford graduates and seen as the UK’s second most important poetry position, behind that of poet laureate. Three more candidates are also in the running, with poet AE Stallings entering the race late last week alongside the poet, novelist and critic Ian Gregson, who is currently professor of creative writing at Bangor University, and the poet, publisher and psychotherapist Seán Haldane.

Related: Wole Soyinka leads candidates for Oxford professor of poetry

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