Module Identifier EN34020  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Professor Peter T Barry  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
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:

1. demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of contemporary British poetry from outside the 'mainstream'

2. engage in critical appreciation of the handling of language and form in particular poems;

3. relate the poetry to appropriate cultural contexts;

4. 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.


Seminar 1: 'The End is Nigh'

Seminar 2: 'Border Countries'

Seminar 3: 'Outside History'?

Seminar 4: 'Planet Alice'

Seminar 5: 'Have You Been Here Long?'   

Seminar 6: 'Talking Pictures' (or 'Let's Get Ekphrastic')

Seminar 7: `Oh No, Not the New Rock and Roll Again'

Seminar 8: 'Birmingham's What I Think With'

Seminar 9: Liverpool Accents - `The Hard Lyric'

Seminar 10: 'Return to Planet Alice'

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Roy Fisher (1996) The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems Bloodaxe Books
Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland (1995) Penguin Modern Poets: Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland Penguin
Maura Dooley (ed.) (1996) Making for Planet Alice: New Women Poets Bloodaxe Books
Peter Robinson (ed.) Liverpool Accents: Seven Poets and a City Liverpool U. P.
** Recommended Background
Peter Barry (2000) Contemporary British Poetry and the City MUP
Vicki Bertram (ed.) (1997) Kicking Daffodils: Twentieth-Century Women Poets Edinburgh U. P.
Ian Gregson (1996) Contemporary Poetry and Postmodernism: Dialogue and Estrangement Macmillan
David Kennedy (1996) New Relations: the Refashioning of British Poetry, 1980 - 1994 Seren
J. Acheson & R. Huk (1996) Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and Criticism SUNY Press
Sean O'Brien (1997) Deregulated Muse: Essays on Contemporary British and Irish Poetry Bloodaxe
Stephen Wade (ed.) (2001) Gladsongs and Gatherings: Poetry in its Social Context in Liverpool Since the 1960s Liverpool U. P.
Deryn Rees-Jones (ed.) (2000) Contemporary Women's Poetry: Reading / Writing / Practice MacMillan
J. Kerrigan & P. Robinson (eds.) (2000) The Thing About Roy Fisher: Critical Studies Liverpool U.P.
R. G. Hampson & P.Barry (1993) New British Poetries: the Scope of the Possible Manchester U. P.

Peter Barry, 'Contemporary British Poetry and Ekphrasis' Cambridge Quarterly , vol. 32, no. 2, 2002, pp. 155 - 65


This module is at CQFW Level 6