Module Information

Module Identifier
ENM6320
Module Title
Writing Poetry: Modes in Contemporary Poetry
Academic Year
2017/2018
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
Reading List
External Examiners
  • Dr Paul McDonald (Senior Lecturer - University of Wolverhampton)
 

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written Assignment  120 - 180 lines of poetry portfolio and a 1500 word critical commentary on the poetry submitted, plus bibliography (bibliography is not included in the word count)  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed or missing written assignment  Resubmit 120 - 180 lines of poetry portfolio and a 1500 word critical commentary on the poetry submitted, plus bibliography (bibliography is not included in the word count)  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate, in both creative and evaluative writing, an understanding of modes used in poetry;

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

3. Improve their work in response to criticism.

Aims

This module is to be expanded from five to ten weeks to fit the pattern used for MA literature modules. This will be done by splitting the existing theory / workshop sessions into separate seminars and workshops. This will increase contact time and allow a deeper exploration of the issues covered.

Brief description

The module will consist of five 2-hour seminars and five 2-hour workshops. In the seminars, students will be introduced to the theory and practice of five poetic modes. For the workshops, they will write poems in these modes, which will be discussed and subsequently revised for the assignment.

Estimated Student Workload
20.5 hours contact time
80 hours preparation for seminars and workshops
100 hours preparation of portfolios

Content

Seminar 1. Poetry in Documentary Mode
Narrative/Denotative Writing aiming for an overall sense of "reduced affect", with feelings and reactions underplayed or implicit; and starkness of verbal texture. Such work has an underlying modernist aesthetic of shunning decorative effects and striving for impersonality and tends to use metonymic techniques. The earlier work of Roy Fisher will be used as an example of this mode.

Workshop 1. Poetry in Documentary Mode. Students will produce poems for workshop using this mode.

Seminar 2. Poetry in Confessional Mode
Writing aiming for overall sense of "heightened affect" with feelings and reactions foregrounded and made explicit. A high degree of artifice and verbalisation is frequently a feature of this mode. The mode often requires the "double-crossing" of the personal material with another element to give it a "second dimension". Strong examples of this mode are the work of Eavan Boland and Tony Harrison.

Workshop 2. Poetry in Confessional Mode
Students will produce poems for workshop using this mode.

Seminar 3. Poetry in Minimalist/Fragmentary Mode
Minimalism has been a dominant form in the arts influenced by modernism. Writing in this mode eschews narrative linearity and imagery which is primarily pictorial in effect. Instead, images may seem almost randomised. The form is also voiceless, with emphasis on visual/spatial effects rather than rhythmic and auditory ones. The influences are often Eastern rather than Western, as with J H Prynne, for example.

Workshop 3. Poetry in Minimalist/Fragmentary Mode
Students will produce poems for workshop using this mode.

Seminar 4. Poetry in Linguistic Mode
In this mode poetry foregrounds language itself as a shaping medium. One contemporary form of this is the use of "interlanguages" which blend and mix dialect and standard, such as Hiberno English and standard (Ian Duhig), or Caribbean English and standard (Grace Nichols, John Agard), and so on. Other poets write exclusively in dialect (Tom Leonard) or write sound poems (Bob Cobbing), or use words as a plastic medium rather than an expressive one (the American "Language Poets").

Workshop 4. Poetry in Linguistic Mode
Students will produce poems for workshop using this mode.

Seminar 5. Poetry in Metaphysical/Metaphorical Mode
Poetry always has an element of enigma: it holds its reader by perplexity. Some poets foreground this element to a marked degree (Medbh McGuckian, and Pauline Stainer are contemporary examples; William Empson is a modernist predecessor in this mode.) The poetry of the "Martians" or "Metaphor Men" (Craig Raine, Christopher Reid and David Sweetman), is related to this, and was prominent in the first half of the 1980s. It uses a technique of defamiliarisation based on metaphorical transformation of objects and situations.

Workshop 5. Poetry in Metaphysical / Metaphorical Mode.
Students will produce poems for workshop using this mode.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Oral through workshop and seminar discussion, written through assignment
Improving own Learning and Performance Through revision of work in response to workshop feedback
Information Technology Through Blackboard and wordprocessing skills
Personal Development and Career planning Through critical reflection and the development of transferable communication skills.
Problem solving Through dealing with problems of writing and research
Research skills Independent and directed research for seminar preparation and work on summative assessment tasks.
Subject Specific Skills Creative writing (poetry), literary research and criticism
Team work Through co-operation in workshops and seminars

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7