Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar. 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
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. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:

1. identify the main characteristics of mid-century radical poetry and prose in America;

2. explain what distinguishes and / or connects the various movements or 'schools' involved;

3. discuss individual texts in a critical, coherent, and independent manner;

4. evaluate the relationship between the literature involved and its various contexts.


Donald Allen's anthology "The New American Poetry 1945-1960" remains the most important anthology of American alternative poetry in the post-war era. Despite the fact that it failed to include a sufficient number of black or women poets, it was nevertheless a remarkably accurate and useful guide to the poetry of its time and also anticipated much of the poetry and related prose that came after it. Paul Hoover's "Postmodern American Poetry" (1994) builds upon these foundations by including the Language poets and a broad base of performance-related poetries.

_1. Black Mountain School and the New Poetry
Paul Hoover (ed), "Postmodern American Poetry" (1994); Ann Charters (ed), "The Portable Beat Reader" (2003)

_2. The "Beat" Writers
Allen Ginsberg, "Howl" (1956)
Jack Kerouac, "On the Road" (1957)
See also: Paul Hoover (ed), "Postmodern American Poetry" (1994); Ann Charters (ed), "The Portable Beat Reader" (2003)

_3. New American Prose
Hubert Selby, "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1966)
Paul Hoover (ed), "Postmodern American Poetry" (1994); Ann Charters (ed), "The Portable Beat Reader" (2003)

_4. The New York Poets
John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Frank O'Hara, in Paul Hoover (ed), "Postmodern American Poetry" (1994)

_5. Poetry and Mythology
Gary Snyder, "Turtle Island" (1974)
Further reading: "Earth House Hold" (1969)


This module is at CQFW Level 7