Writing Poetry module (EN32036)

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Module code


  • Level 3
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%


This course aims to give students a broad genre-based understanding of poetry across the ages, through the examination of various key texts within the context of their formal and generic literary inheritance. Students will develop a poetry 'tool kit' of poetry-specific writing and editing techniques and methods of critique, and learn to situate their own poetic practice within the longer tradition.


Dr Heather Yeung


1 hour long weekly reading-focussed discussion seminars will examine the principles by which an effective poem is built; to look at firstly ‘making’ and then ‘breaking with’ various key genres (e.g. the ballad, the sonnet, the ode). Poems and poets examined will be wide-ranging, giving sufficient different reading matter to support the first ‘anthology’ assessment, where students are asked to act as poet-critic. As well as these weekly lecture-seminars, students’ poetic writing will be supported through weekly 2 hour workshops, in which they will produce and receive critique on their own writing, fine-tuning editorial skills and working towards building a polished portfolio of writing and writer’s manifesto to be submitted at the close of the course.


Assessment for the course is 100% course work, broken down as follows:

  • 'selected works' or 'anthology' project (1500 words introductory essay + 1 page table of contents) (30%)
  • 'portfolio + poetics' project (16-18pp portfolio of poetic work and a 1500 word statement of poetics) (70%)


The module integrates close reading of various key poetic genres with close reading and advanced critique of students’ own writing. The module is designed across the axis of ‘making’ and ‘breaking’ poetic genre; content includes close study and writing of: the ballad, the sonnet, the ode, the elegy, and the ars poetica (the statement of poetics). The workshop series charts a progression from the basic Iowa Writers’ Workshop style in the first part of the course, to Advanced Workshop style in the second part of the course. 

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

  • Analyse a range of poetry, spanning different genres, and conventional and innovative work, and apply lessons learnt in close analysis to critique and development of their own creative practice and the production of their own creative work, as well as to the close reading and critique of the work of their peers
  • Engage in-depth with a series of philosophical and literary debates on the importance of poetic genre in writing poetry with particular focus on their own writing practice
  • Integrate practical and critical modes of analysis in the production and situation of their own creative work in poetry and poetics

Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

  • Combine practical, theoretical, critical, and personal knowledge in evaluation of poetry
  • Engage in-depth with questions surrounding how their own writing engages with, and exists within different poetic genres, as well as debate questions of the usefulness of structures of poetic genre with reference to their own writing practise and that of both their peers and other poets
  • Use practical and critical knowledge as a mode of creative engagement and writerly practise

Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

  • Use appropriate media to support and enhance the development of their creative practise, and to communicate the rationale behind their work
  • Begin to communicate effectively across sectors in order to advance understanding of a range of complex problems in the history of and in contemporary poetry and poetics, and apply these to their own critical practice
  • Self-manage a personal reading list in poetry and manage their time in order to plan the contents page and write the introduction for a speculative poetry anthology
  • Self-manage their work and time in order to plan, edit, complete, and rationalize a portfolio of creative work for final submission


This module is available on following courses: