Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Poetry But Not as We Know it-Uk Poetry since 70s-Remapping
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 10 x 2 hr workshops
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 essays (3000 words each)  Continuous Assessment:  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of contemporary British poetry from outside the 'mainstream'

2. engage in critical appreciation of the handling of language and form in particular poems;

3. relate the poetry to appropriate cultural contexts;

4. explain and engage with recent critical and/or theoretical debates about contemporary British poetry.

Brief description

This module by-passes the best-known landmarks - Larkin, Heaney, Hughes - and asks you to boldly go into hitherto unmapped territory. It takes for granted the fact that you probably find poetry reading quite difficult but also assumes that you are just as keen to encounter new and challenging work in poetry, as in, say, film or pictorial art. The module offers `poetry with an edge', and poetry with a strong contemporary flavour (it's a daffodil-free zone). It offers reading strategies for poetry, especially for poetry of an innovative kind. It seeks to remove it from the 'page vacuum' and looks at it in its various contexts, such as: the contemporary art scene, the processes of small-press publishing, the dynamics of reading and performance, the influences of 'alternative' cultures and lifestyles, and various networks of regional and political allegiances.


The module will consist of a weekly seminar, and a weekly 'workshop' session of the same length. The workshops will interweave four different strands of supplementary work.
The two major aims of the workshops will be:
1) to foreground the tutor's on-going research in the field, in accordance with the 'research-led' ideal of teaching, and
2) to involve third-year students directly and actively in that reseach by means of their participation in a series fo presentations and mini-investigations.


_Seminar 1: 'The End is Nigh'
  • Reading short poems - a method discussed and exemplified.
_Seminar 2: 'Border Countries'
  • Carol Ann Duffy in Penguin Modern Poets: Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland. Crossing the border and breaking the 'women-poet' mould.
_Seminar 3: 'Outside History'?
  • Eavan Boland in Penguin Modern Poets: Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland. How does a woman poet inscribe herself in a masculine and national tradition of poetry?
_Seminar 4: 'Planet Alice'
  • Poets from Making For Planet Alice: New Women Poets, ed. Maura Dooley, a lively and outspoken anthology of women poets who made their reputations in the 1990s.
_Seminar 5: 'Have You Been Here Long?'
  • Black British Poetry: selections from James Berry (`Lucy' poems), Fred D'Aguiar ('Mama Dot' and 'Airy Hall') and David Dabydeen (Some audio-taped material will be used).
_Seminar 6: 'Talking Pictures' (or 'Let's Get Ekphrastic')
  • Ekphastic poems are poems about pictures: this presentation considers some of the varieties of this increasingly popular genre.
_Seminar 7: `Oh No, Not the New Rock and Roll Again'
  • The 'New Gen' poetry promotion of 1994, as seen by Melvyn Bragg and the Southbank Show.
_Seminar 8: 'Birmingham's What I Think With'
  • Roy Fisher, The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 1996). The laid-back urban annotations of the 'Poet Laureate of Brum' (with audio-tape material).
_Seminar 9: Liverpool Accents - `The Hard Lyric'
  • Poets from Liverpool Accents: Seven Poets and a City, ed. Peter Robinson, Liverpool University Press, 1996.
_Seminar 10: 'Return to Planet Alice'
  • A further selection of poets from the Planet Alice anthology

The four strands visited in the workshops will be:
a) Poetry, but even less as we know it: this strand aims to bring my research interests in LIP poetries (Linguistically Innovative Poetries) more directly into the course and involve students in it. Sessions will tabulate, enumerate, or record student reactions and interpretations in some way, so that they can be used in response-based research. These will be 'unseen' sessions on the kind of material that is the subject matter of Chapter 13, 'Minimalism and micro-poetry' and Chapter 14, 'Concrete canticles', in my Reading Poetry (2013).

b) Textual genesis: this strand will draw on the methods used in the chapter of the same title in Reading Poetry. It will look at examples of poems being developed through various drafts to completion, using material from works by writers such as Jon Silkin, Tony Curtis, and Vicki Feaver, and drawing, if possible, on some examples which are by poets who are members of the department.

c) Devolved Voices: this is a 'Wales-specific' strand which will draw upon the public materials of the current Leverhulme project, especially the corpus of interviews with poets conducted by project-researcher Kathryn Gray and available on the DV website (click on the 'Media' tab Typically, a student presentation would use one of the interviews to help explicate a poem or poems by the author concerned.

d) Picture it!: this strand will focus on ekphrastic poetry (poems about pictures, photographs, or art objects), seeking to describe existing examples with greater precision than is managed in recent taxonomies (including my own in Chapter 6 of Literature in Contexts and Chapter 8 of Reading Poetry). Examples will include work by Wales-based poets Tony Curtis, Susan Richardson, and Philip Gross.


This module is at CQFW Level 6