Module Identifier EN34020  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Peter T Barry  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students should typically be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of contemporary British poetry from outside the 'mainstream'

- engage in critical appreciation of the handling of language and form in particular poems

- relate the poetry to appropriate cultural contexts

- 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:


1. 'The End is Nigh'
   Reading short poems - a method discussed and exemplified.

2. 'Border Countries'
   Carol Ann Duffy in Penguin Modern Poets, Vol. 2. Crossing the border and
   breaking the 'women-poet' mould

3. `Outside History??
   Eavan Boland in Penguin Modern Poets, Vol. 2. How does a woman poet inscribe
   herself in a masculine and national tradition of poetry?

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

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)

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.

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.
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

9. Liverpool Accents - `The Hard Lyric?
   Poets from Liverpool Accents: Seven Poets and a City, ed. Peter Robinson,
   Liverpool University Press, 1996.

10. 'Return to Planet Alice'
   A further selection of poets from the Planet Alice anthology

Secondary Reading

J. Acheson & R. Huk, Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and
Criticism, SUNY Press, 1996
Peter Barry, Contemporary British Poetry and the City, MUP, 2000
Peter Barry, 'Contemporary British poetry and Ekphrasis', Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 2, 2002, pp. 155 - 65
Vicki Bertram (ed.), Kicking Daffodils: Twentieth-Century Women Poets, Edinburgh U. Press, 1997
Ian Gregson, Contemporary Poetry and Postmodernism: Dialogue and Estrangement, Macmillan, 1996.
R.G.Hampson &P.Barry, New British Poetries: the Scope of the Possible, MUP, 1993
David Kennedy, New Relations: the Refashioning of British Poetry, 1980 - 1994, Seren, 1996.
J.Kerrigan/P.Robsinson (ed), The Thing About Roy Fisher: Critical Studies, L.U.P, 2000
Sean O?Brien, Deregulated Muse: Essays on Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, , Bloodaxe, 1997
Deryn Rees-Jones (ed.), Contemporary Women?s Poetry:Reading/Writing/Practice, MacMillan, 2000
Stephen Wade (ed.),Gladsongs and Gatherings: Poetry in its Social Context in Liverpool Since the 1960s, ed., Lpool U. Press, 2001.   

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Penguin Modern Poets Volume 2 Penguin
Maura Dooley (ed) (1996) Making for Planet Alice: New Women Poets Bloodaxe Books
Roy Fisher (1996) The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems Bloodaxe Books
Peter Robinson, ed Liverpool Accents: Seven Poets and a City Lpool U Press


This module is at CQFW Level 6