This morning, disappointed Brits may want to turn their attention to a more hopeful kind of election: Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is in the lead to replace Geoffrey Hill as the next Oxford professor of poetry, with more than 90 nominations so far. Oxford graduates will vote next month for what’s widely seen as the top job in academic poetry. Soyinka’s nearest rival, Ian Gregson, has 54 backers so far, and offers a cri de coeur for poets everywhere, who’ve suffered “a catastrophic loss of cultural prestige and popularity”. Gregson said in a statement: “ You could, now, be as talented but self-destructive as Dylan Thomas, or you could fight a corrosive but symptomatic gender battle like Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but go unnoticed.”
At the New Republic, an interview on police corruption with a true expert… a former crooked cop.
Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic Station Eleven, a finalist but never the bride for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner, has just won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, one of sci-fi’s highest honors (let’s hope none of the genre boys gets too upset). Station Eleven did also win the Tournament of Books 15 to 2, not to mention the heart of George R. R. Martin, who thought it should get the nowadays-controversial Hugo.
A South Korean book of poems by children will be recalled and destroyed, as its contents—notably a ten-year-old’s fantasy about eating her mother—have been deemed too disturbing.