Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Adventures with Poetry
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hour workshops / seminars (weekly)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assignment 1  Six pages of poetry, and a critical commentary of 1,000 words, accompanied by an annotated bibliography (not included in the word count). (poetry weighted 75% and commentary/bibliography 25%). The assignment must engage with material from weeks 1-5.  50%
Semester Assessment Assignment 2:  Six pages of poetry, and a critical commentary of 1,000 words, accompanied by an annotated bibliography (not included in the word count). (poetry weighted 75% and commentary/bibliography 25%). The assignment must engage with material from weeks 6-10.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed elements  Students who fail the module will be required to make good any missing elements and/or revise or replace any failed assignments. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to

1. demonstrate knowledge of some significant forms and conventions of poetic writing in English.

2. compose poetry in a range of forms, using contemporary diction and invoking a contemporary context.

3. devise formal constraints and write within them

4. demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which traditional forms impact on contemporary approaches.

5. devlop a self-reflexive awareness of their own writing practice.

Brief description

The module mixes traditional poetic forms that require technical knowledge such as rhyming patterns and metrical constraints, with more playful aspects of poetic form, including oulipo and collage. In additional to the seminars/workshops there will be a reading by a guest poet who will then take part in a Q&A session with the students about their own poetic practice, and a found poetry tour, conducted on Penglais campus, with surprise 'pop up' readings, given by GTAs and full time members of staff, en route.


The module will introduce students to poetics as resource material to aid their understanding of poetic practice and strengthen their own self-reflection in their critical commentaries, as well as broadening their knowledge of poetic form.


Teaching will be delivered through weekly two-hour workshops in which students will discuss each other's written work with their tutor, and have an introduction to the next topic through provided example texts and discussion.

Outline of weekly topics:
Week one: Introduction to the module.
First topic: ballads and stories, using form to tell a tale, and consideration of the oral tradition in keeping and sharing communal stories. This session will include revision of iambic metre as well as basic rhyme schemes. Students will be asked to write a ballad about a contemporary news item for discussion in the following workshop.

Week two: Concrete poems, considering poetic form as a visual tool.
We will discuss the ways in which form and subject are in dialogue when using form to suggest a visual shape, and consider whether content is undermined by the demands of the shape, and whether this matters in a poem of this kind. Students will be asked to choose a visual pattern and to write a poem which attempts to marry subject and shape.

Week three: Couplets: clerihews, tetrameter, heroic.
We will look at a variety of approaches to using couplets (paired lines), and consider the ways in which the different metres and rhyming sounds determine tone.

Week four: Guest poet.
An invited poet will come to the session to give students a reading of their work, to take part in a Q&A, and to discuss their own poetic practice. The students will be able to share their own experiences and to consider new working methods.

Week five: Sonnets.
Exploring Petrarchan and Shakespearian sonnet forms, considering the history of the forms and their contemporary use, and considering different ways into using the forms ourselves, e.g. working with an 'outside in' approach. Students will be asked to write a Shakespearean sonnet expressing their profound dislike of something and a Petrarchan love sonnet to an unusual object.

Week six: Oulipo constraints.
We will learn about this group of predominately French writers, founded in 1960, which used constrained writing techniques to produce their work. We will look at some of the most well-known oulipo techniques, including S+7 (sometimes called N+7, where writers start with a phrase then re-write it for the next line or phrase by replacing every noun in a text with the seventh noun after it in a dictionary), lipograms (writing that excludes one or more letters), and snowballs (poems where each line is a single word and each new line is one letter longer than the previous one). Students will be asked to try out a selection of these constraints and discuss their experiences.

Week seven: Found poems.
A discussion of the ways in which we are surrounded by textual material in all aspects of our lives, the usefulness of this when writing, and the effect of removing traditional, linear patterns of meaning. We will look at some examples from the Found Poetry Review which show potential ways to present found material through an on-going online archive, and then embark on a group seminar tour of campus to collect textual material for our own poems. Two potential destinations are Hugh Owen Building in order to write a 'Hugh Owen Poem', or the Arts Centre shop.

Week eight: Collage.
This session will build on the work of the previous week by asking students to think about the effect of bringing different discourses together to produce a poem, and the ways in which seemingly disparate domains of language, syntax and tone can combine to produce a startling new piece of work. As an exercise, students will be given a piece of English department textual ephemera (e.g. a page from the undergraduate handbook) and a canonical poem and will be asked to combine them in a new poem, using cut up techniques and online randomisers.

Week nine: Repetition as a device.
We will explore the ways in which repetition is used in two traditional forms, the villanelle and the pantoum, considering the role of echo, pattern, and feelings of entrapment in conveying certain subject matter.

Week ten: Students devise their own constraints.
This is an opportunity for students to review the material covered throughout the module and to create their own formal constraints to write a poem, supported by their tutor.

Contact time - 20 hrs
Preparation for classes - 60 hours
Supplementary reading - 40 hours
Preparation for and completion of portfolios - 80 hours

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Through effective and accurate use of language, grammar, and syntax to express ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through, independent reading, research, and creative writing.
Information Technology Through word processing and using the library catalogue for research, and some students may choose to use online tools to devise their own poetic constraints.
Personal Development and Career planning By critical self-reflection and through the development of transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving By responding to weekly writing tasks and responding to feedback on creative work.
Research skills By developing an independent programme of reading to support course materials, using indicative bibliogaphy.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Through collaboration in workshops.


This module is at CQFW Level 6