BA Art History and English Literature

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Creative Writing: Poetry

Unit code ENGL20901
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit uses a workshop format so that each session begins with an exercise/discussion which will introduce ideas about form, metaphor, rhythm etc. In response to set exercises, students will write a poem per week (14 to 40 lines), which will then be marked up by all other students and discussed in detail in class.


  • To widen and deepen students' knowledge of contemporary poetry in English;

  • To develop students' critical, editing, communication and writing skills;

  • To encourage an interest in, and the practice of, writing and reading contemporary poetry;

  • To encourage students to join in productive group-work in a workshop context in order to reflect on their own learning and to assist with the learning processes of other students;

  • To provide students with skills that are both related to the discipline and transferable to appropriate professional contexts.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • An intelligent consideration of how poems are made and are made interesting;

  • Skills in the writing, reading, critical assessment and editing of poetry;

  • An understanding of the traditions and applications of a range of poetic devices such as form, rhyme, metre, voice, enjambment, imagery, etc;

  • A level of critical and analytical thinking and skills in written expression appropriate to work that will form part of the final degree assessment;

  • An ability to formulate opinions about each other's work, and to communicate these in constructive ways;

  • Confidence in presenting his or her own work;

  • An ability to engage in group-work in order to reflect on and develop his or her own learning and to assist with the learning processes of other students;

  • Skills that are both related to the discipline and transferable to appropriate professional contexts.

Teaching and learning methods

One 2-and-half-hour workshop, plus two fifteen minute tutorials per week

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate arguments and texts. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
Group/team working
Students taking this unit will be able to work courteously and constructively as part of a larger group.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
Students on this unit must take responsibility for their learning and are encouraged not only to participate in group discussions but to do so actively and even to lead those discussions.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Oral communication
Students taking this unit will be able to show fluency, clarity and persuasiveness in spoken communication.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Coursework (80%): a portfolio of typed work, five poems (between 14-40 lines), each piece revised in the light of workshop feedback, and with a short critical commentary (c.300 words).

Lit Live Review (10%)

Feedback (10%)

Feedback methods

Written and face-to-face (upon arrangement)

Recommended reading

There will be a booklet for the course available from September. We will let you know when it is ready. (The course will also have a full Blackboard site from the week before the start of the module.) The course booklet will contain the poems by Irish poets that will look at in class Preparatory Reading

1. Primary Reading

The best way to prepare for this course is to read the main texts on the course before it begins. Set editions we will use in class are listed below, in the order in which they will be taught:

D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow, ed. Mark Kinkead-Weekes (1915; Penguin, 2007)*

Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Sunset Song (1932; Polygon, 2006)

David Jones, In Parenthesis (1937; Faber and Faber, 2014)

Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners, ed. Susheila Nasta (1956; Penguin, 2006).

David Dabydeen, The Intended (1991; Peepal Tree, 2005)

Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000; Penguin, 2001)

Nikita Lalwani, Gifted (2007; Penguin, 2008)

* Please make sure you buy the Penguin edition of the novel that uses the text of the Cambridge Lawrence edition - this is not the same as other Penguin editions of the novel. Look for ISBN-10: 0141441380 / ISBN-13: 978-0141441382.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vona Groarke Unit coordinator
Frances Leviston Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Timetable for 2019/20:

ENGL20901: 1st semester (for students taking English Literature with Creative Writing only)

Seminar 1: Thu 3pm - 6pm

Seminar 2: Fri 10am - 1pm

ENGL20902: Tue 3pm - 6pm - 2nd semester for other students selecting this course unit

Other information

Entry to this course is by competition only. Places will be offered on the basis of samples of creative work submitted during the second semester of year 1. Those who have been successful in their application for the course will have been informed before pre-registration.

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