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Smear claim poet quits Oxford post; ELECTION.

THE first female Oxford Professor of Poetry has resigned following an alleged smear campaign against her former rival.

Ruth Padel, a great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, said she had done "nothing intentional" to lead Derek Walcott to pull out of the election for the job.

Walcott, the leading candidate for the job, withdrew after anonymous letters were sent to more than 100 Oxford professors detailing an allegation of sexual harassment made against the St Luciaborn poet by a former student in 1982.

Padel said: "I did not engage in a smear campaign against him, but I naively passed on to two journalists information that was already in the public domain."

University sources said a new election would now be held. The post is regarded as one of the most influential in UK poetry behind that of poet laureate.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 2009
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