Module Identifier ENM5320  
Module Title WRITING POETRY 2  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Peter T Barry  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   Seminar. 2 hours per week  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Accounts Construction Test: Students will complete a portfolio containing work in three of the modes discussed. This wil contain commentary of a critical/theoretical nature on the chosen modes, and specific annotation of the work included. 5,000 words 


This module is based upon the study and practice of what are identified as six fundamental Modes of Modern Poetry Writing. One of these is focused upon in each of the five sessions. An example is discussed, and students produce or will have produced, a section of work in that mode, in response to a stimulus or exercise provided. Each mode is linked to its relevant critical or theoretical movement, so that a related conceptual vocabulary is built up. The aim is to build a basic repertoire of options, procedures and concerns on which the student can draw in an eclectic way for models of practice which go beyond the instinctive "own voice" method which most aspiring poets use.

1. Poetry in Documentary Mode

   Narrative/Denotative Writing aiming for an overall sense of "reduced affect", with feelings and reactions underplayed or implicit;
   and starkness of verbal texture. Such work has an underlying modernist aesthetic of shunning decorative effects and striving
   for impersonality and tends to use metonymic techniques. The earlier work of Roy Fisher will be used as an example of this

2. Poetry in Confessional Mode

   Writing aiming for overall sense of "heightened affect" with feelings and reactions foregrounded and made explicit. A high
   degree of artifice and verbalisation is frequently a feature of this mode. The mode often requires the "double-crossing" of the
   personal material with another element to give it a "second dimension". Strong examples of this mode are the work of Eavan
   Boland and Tony Harrison.

3. Poetry in Minimalist/Fragmentary Mode

   Minimalism has been a dominant form in the arts influenced by modernism. Writing in this mode eschews narrative linearity and
   imagery which is primarily pictorial in effect. Instead, images may seem almost randomised. The form is also voiceless, with
   emphasis on visual/spatial effects rather than rhythmic and auditory ones. The influences are often Eastern rather than
   Western, as with J H Prynne, for example.

4. Poetry in Linguistic Mode

   In this mode poetry foregrounds language itself as a shaping medium. One contemporary form of this is the use of
   "interlanguages" which blend and mix dialect and standard, such as Hiberno English and standard (Ian Duhig), or Caribbean
   English and standard (Grace Nichols, John Agard), and so on. Other poets write exclusively in dialect (Tom Leonard) or write
   sound poems (Bob Cobbing), or use words as a plastic medium rather than an expressive one (the American "Language Poets").

5. Poetry in Metaphysical/Metaphorical Mode

   Poetry always has an element of enigma: it holds its reader by perplexity. Some poets foreground this element to a marked
   degree (Maibhe McGuckian, and Susand Stanier are contemporary examples); William Empson is a modernist predecessor in
   this mode. The poetry of the "Martians" or "Metaphor Men" (Craig Raine, Christopher Reid and David Sweetman), is related
   to this, and was prominent in the first half of the 1980s. It uses a technique of defamiliarisation based on metaphorical
   transformation of objects and situations.


This module is at CQFW Level 7