Writing as Making: Poetics and Creativity - EN32010

Quick Facts

  • Level 3
  • 30 Credits
  • Semester 1
  • 24 places
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • HYBRID English-Creative Writing module. Preference to English-Creative Writing pathway students. This page was refreshed on 03/03/16 for 2016/7 study.

Module Details

  • What are the basic elements of writing, and how are these organised in prose and poetry? 
  • When writing succeeds, and when it fails, why is this? 
  • Are there kinds of literary awareness which writers need to have, regardless of what they write; and are these forms of literary sensibility transferable from one genre to another? 

Using a series of samples and extracts from canonical texts to explore what has made for good (and not so good) creative writing in the past, including important theoretical statements from a range of literary thinkers, this module will seek to learn practical lessons from such exemplars.




Indication of topics:

  • What is rhetoric and why does it matter?
  • Writing as performance.
  • Control (i): losing it (Shakespeare and Jonson).
  • Control (ii): gaining it (Pound and Imagism).
  • Restraint and ecstasy (Larkin and Ginsberg).
  • Rhythm in the novel.
  • The importance of nonsense.
  • Some postmodern approaches to making sense.


Dr Jim Stewart


This module is taught through three contact hours per week.

Students with an interest in Creative Writing would be able to use this module to reflect on their own work in a highly critical way, as use this as part of their assessment, whereas English i.e. non-Creative Writing students would study poetics in relation to the wide variety of literature offered in this module and in the English degree generally.


This module is assessed 100% by coursework:

  • 2,500 word essay (40%)
  • 3,500 word essay (60%)


Reading List

  • Aristotle, Poetics
  • Horace, Art of Poetry
  • Sir Philip Sidney, A Defence of Poesy
  • William Wordsworth, 'Preface' to Lyrical Ballads
  • T S Eliot, 'Tradition and the Individual Talent'; 'The Metaphysical Poets'; and other essays
  • Percy Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction
  • E M Forster, Aspects of the Novel
  • James Wood, How Fiction Works
  • Seamus Heaney, The Redress of Poetry and The Government of the Tongue

Access the online reading list system

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Develop an awareness of their own strength as writers,
  • Show familiarity issues related to poetics, and the development of a literary "sensibility",
  • Articulate independent critical responses to their own work, and draw comparisons with the works of others.