|Module Title||WRITING POETRY 1: RHYMES AND REASONS|
|Semester||Intended For Use In Future Years|
|Next year offered||N/A|
|Next semester offered||N/A|
|Other staff||Clive Meachen|
|Course delivery||Seminar||2 hours per week|
|Assessment||Case study||Students will complete a portfolio containing work in three of the modes discussed. This will contain commentary of a critical/theoretical nature on the chosen modes, and specific annotation of the work included. 5,000 words.|
Each component of the module is linked to fundamental activities in the creation of a poem. Examples are provided of how a selected range of poets have dealt with these issues, but what is stressed in the choice of these examples is the diversity of practice available to us in the poetic record. Each component sets specific tasks while remaining sensitive to the individual knowledge and capacities of the student. A theoretical framework is provided for each component. The aim is to familiarise the student with the six basic activities of poetic practice. There is accumulative logic in the order of tasks on display, moving from the most common assumptions about the writing of poetry to wider and more sophisticated questions about its practice.
1. Poetry as Self-expression
How does a poem differ from a diary or a letter to a lover? How useful is the confessional mode? What happens when a
pesonal voice enters the realm of language? Texts to be considered include Sylvia Plath's "Daddy", and Allen Ginsberg's
"Howl", together with a characteristic range of critical responses to their practice. Students will present a brief analysis of their
2. Poetry as a Machine Made of Words
This component stresses an opposite approach to that suggested in the previous component. The title is taken from
W C Williams' introduction to "The Wedge", which provides a core text, together with Williams' "The Red Wheel-barrow".
The Modernist stress on the 'self-sufficient art object' will be looked at in some detail, using commentary and criticism by
Peter Quatermain and Stephen Friedman. Students will be asked to consider how their own practice endorses or departs from
this proposition on the nature of the poem.
3. Poetry and Traditions
T S Elliot and the New Critics provide the framework here, together with the relatively recent spate of writing which has attacked
their assumptions. Examples from Black writing, Native American writing, and Language poetry will be used to provide examples
of the need to widen the sense of tradition. Susan Howe's "The Birth-Mark" will be used as a central alternative critical text.
Students will be asked to reflect on their own traditions and the question of national traditions in poetry.
4. Poetry and Peformance
How should a poem be read to an audience? Are certain kinds of poetry unsuitable for a live audience? What are the
strengths and weaknesses of a poetry specifically designed to be performed rather than to be read? Students will read their own
poetry and will receive help in the preparation of their reading.
5. The Single Poem, the Collected Book
How to compile a selection and how to order it, together with the idea that putting things into an order can alter and adjust the
meaning of individual poems, (Hugh Kenner's essay on Yeates provides a useful perspective on this). Susan Howe's "The
Birth-Mark" offers a radical critique of publishing and this will be laid alongside examples drawn from both the mainstream and