Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Adventures with Poetry
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Creative Writing Portfolio 1  (2,500 words) Six pages of poetry and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Semester Assessment Creative Writing Portfolio 2  (2,500 words) Six pages of poetry and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed Creative Writing Portfolio 1  (2,500 words) Six pages of poetry and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed Creative Writing Portfolio 2  (2,500 words) Six pages of poetry and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful 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. Write within constraints (either given or devised).

4. Demonstrate knowledge of the ways i which traditional forms impact on contemporary approaches.

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

6. Make constructive critical responses to their own and other students’ writing, and engage in appropriate revisions of their own work.


This module is designed to build on the foundational work of the first year core Introduction to Poetry, developing a more advanced technical skills base and introducing students to the imaginative ways in which poetic form is used by contemporary poets.

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 OulLiPo and collage. In addition to the seminars/workshops there will be a found poetry tour, and students will be encouraged to engage with a range of poetic practices by attending readings and local poetry events.


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.

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 Word-processing skills required to prepare and submit portfolios; use of digital resources for research. 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 Through critical self-reflection; transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving By responding to weekly wriitng tasks and respondinfg to feedback on creative work.
Research skills By developing an independent programme of reading to support course materials, using indicative bibliography.
Subject Specific Skills Practical proficiency in creative writing; close reading; analysis of texts and research sources; revision and editing.
Team work Collaboration in seminars and workshops.


This module is at CQFW Level 5