Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 5 X 2-HOUR SEMINARS


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Students will be asked to produce a portfolio of poetry in at least three of the modes explored in the seminars, plus a critical commentary of 1000 - 1500 words. 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate, in both creative and evaluative writing, an awareness of a range of poetic practices;

2. Demonstrate, in critical prose, an awareness of their own writing processes;

3. Demonstrate, by the revision of work previously discussed in workshops, an ability to improve their writing in response to criticism.


This module aims to increase students' awareness of the possibilities available to poets writing today, and thus to expand the range of their poetic practice.

Brief description

The module will be workshop-based; discussion of students' own writing will be a principal feature of each seminar. Students will produce examples of writing in each of five different poetic modes, and will read a range of poems by modern and contemporary poets which use those modes.


_Session 1. The Formal Poem.
Students will be asked to write a poem using either a traditional form (sonnet, villanelle, blank verse etc), or less orthodox formal constraints (syllabics, half-rhymes, patterns of alliteration etc). Discussion will focus on the possibilities of an `outside-in' approach to poetry, which works from form to content rather than vice versa. Examples will be taken from modern and contemporary poets who have worked in orthodox forms (eg, Larkin, Heaney) and less orthodox ones (eg, Marianne Moore, Muldoon).

_Session 2. The Imagistic Poem.
Students will be asked to write a poem based on images rather than narrative or argument. Discussion will focus on the show-don'r-tell approach to poetry and its roots in Imagism. Examples may include the Imagists, William Carlos Williams and the various interpretations of haiku.

_Session 3. The Narrative Poem.
Students will be asked to write a poem which tells a story. Discussion will focus on the narrative potential of poetry and the differences between poetic and prose narrative. The dramatic monologue will also be covered. Examples may include Frost, Auden and contemporary exponents such as Armitage and Duffy.

_Session 4. The Self-Reflexive Poem.
Students will be asked to write a poem which explores its own textuality. Discussion will focus on the postmodern interest in reflexive forms and its relation to critical theory. Examples of self-reflexive poetry may include work by Wallace Stevens and W.S. Graham, as well as recent British and American poetry in the postmodern tradition.

_Session 5. The Poetic Sequence.
Students will be asked to write a short sequence of poems. Discussion will focus on the different sequential structures available to poets and the way individual poems can change when brought into proximity with others. Examples of sequences may range from Yeats's Crazy Jane poems and `Meditations in Time of Civil War' to Berryman's Dream Songs and looser sequences such as Plath's bee poems.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Interaction in group discussion will be essential to the seminars
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to improve their work in response to criticism from the tutor and other students
Problem solving Problems of writing technique will arise and be dealt with in seminars and assessments
Research skills Research is an essential part of the assessments
Team work See 3

Reading List

No set texts, but students will receive an advisory reading list.


This module is at CQFW Level 7