BA English Literature and German / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Creative Writing: Poetry

Course unit fact file
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 seminar + workshop format so that each session begins with a seminar discussion which will introduce ideas about form, metaphor, rhythm etc.


A 1.5-hour workshop will then consider poems written by students in response to prompts. During the course of the semester students will be required to make three poetry submissions each, on a rota, for annotation and discussion by other members of the group.


  • 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

  • An intelligent consideration of how poems are made and are made interesting;
  • Demonstrate a wide range of independent reading in contemporary poetry;
  • To write poems originally and well, and to develop skills for deploying the poetic tool-kit;
  • To hone critical assessment
  • 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, her, their own work;
  • Skills with editing and re-drafting, responding positively to feedback received
  • An ability to engage in group-work in order to reflect on and develop his, her, their 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.

Assessment methods

Portfolio 100%


Feedback methods

Written and face-to-face (upon arrangement)

Recommended reading

The Zoo of the New, eds Laird & Paterson, (Penguin Modern Classics, 2018)

Staying Alive, ed Neil Astley, (Bloodaxe, 2002)

The Making of a Poem, eds Boland and Strand (Norton, 2000)

The New Penguin Book of English Verse, ed Paul Keegan (Penguin, 2000)

The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them, Stephanie Burt, (Belknap, Harvard, 2016)

Why Poetry, Matthew Zapruder, (Harper Collins, 2017)

Stepping Stones, Seamus Heaney & Dennis O’Driscoll (Faber & Faber, 2009)

The Best American Poetry annual publication, Rotating Eds (Scribner)

The Forward Book of Poetry annual publication, Rotating Eds, (Forward Publishing)

Who Reads Poetry: 50 Views from ‘Poetry’ Magazine, eds Sasaki & Share, (University of Chicago Press, 2017)


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vona Groarke Unit coordinator

Additional notes

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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