Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
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 weekly meetings, as follows.


_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


This module is at CQFW Level 6