Ruth Sophia Padel

(1946 / Wimpole Street, London)

Biography of Ruth Sophia Padel

Ruth Sophia Padel (born 8 May 1946) is a British poet, novelist and non-fiction author known for her poetry criticism, nature writing, and connections with music, science, Greece and conservation. She broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and 4 on poetry, wildlife and music, and is on the Board of the Zoological Society of London, active in promoting its global conservation through literary programmes. She teaches Creative Writing at King's College London.

Padel is daughter of psychoanalyst John Hunter Padel and Hilda Barlow. Padel was born in Wimpole Street where her great-grandfather Sir Thomas Barlow practised medicine. She attended North London Collegiate School, studied classics at Lady Margaret Hall Oxford where she sang in Schola Cantorum of Oxford, wrote a PhD on Greek poetry, and was first Bowra Research Fellow at Wadham College Oxford which altered its Statutes for her to accommodate female Fellows.[citation needed] She was thus among the first women to become Fellows of formerly all-male Oxford colleges. She taught Greek at Oxford and Birkbeck, University of London, taught opera in the Modern Greek Department at Princeton University, has lived in Greece, and in Paris where she sang in the Choir of Église Saint-Eustache, Paris. Her publishing career began in 1985, while she was teaching Greek at Birkbeck College, with a poetry pamphlet. Later she left academe to support herself by reviewing and to publish her first collection in 1990. From 1984 to 2000 she was married to the philosopher Myles Burnyeat.

Padel's mother is the daughter of Sir Alan Barlow 2nd Baronet and Nora Barlow, née Darwin, granddaughter of Charles Darwin, through whom Padel is Darwin's great-great-grandchild. Her brother is historian Oliver Padel; cousins include prison reformer Una Padel, sculptor Phyllida Barlow and biographer Randal Keynes; her uncle is Horace Barlow Updates


He's gone. She can't believe it, can't go on. She's going to give up painting. So she paints Her final canvas, total-turn-off
Black. One long
Obsidian goodbye. A charcoal-burner's Smirnoff, The mirror of Loch Ness Reflecting the monster back to its own eye.
But something's wrong. Those mad Black-body particles don't sing Her story of despair, the steel and
Garnet spindle
Of the storm.
This black has everything its own sweet way, Where's the I'd-like-to-kill-You conflict? Try once more, but

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