Contemporary Poetry: Context and Innovation - EN686

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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5 30 (15) MRS D Lehane




Not available as wild



This module will expose students to a wide range of contemporary English language poetries, which don't use traditional prosodies as their organising principles. Techniques and writing strategies covered will include 'chance’ procedures; cut-up; ‘field’ poetics; Oulipo; ‘concrete’ poetry; radical feminist poetics; the avant-garde lyric; ‘radical landscape’ poetries, amongst others. One of these approaches to writing poetry (or others as appropriate) will be the starting point for discussion each week. These discussions will be supported with writing week by week. Each teaching session will incorporate a writing workshop.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

100% coursework.

Portfolio of work (120 lines of poetry) (65%)
Essay (1,500 words) (25%)
Seminar Performance (10%)

Indicative reading

There will be a course reader, supported by these texts:

Chivers, Tom (ed), (2012) Adventures in Form: A Compendium of New Poetic Forms, Rules & Constraints. London Penned in the Margins.
Critchley, Emily (ed), (2015) Out of Everywhere 2. Hastings: Reality Street.
Etter, Carrie (ed.), (2010) Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by U.K. Women Poets, Bristol: Shearsman Books.
Hilson, Jeff. (2008) The Reality Street Book of Sonnets. Hastings: Reality Street.
Sheppard, Robert. (2008) Complete Twentieth-Century Blues, Norfolk: Salt.
Tarlo, Harriet (ed.), (2011) The Ground Aslant: an Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, Bristol: Shearsman Books.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Read and respond to a range of modernist and post-modernist poetries as technical exemplars of the craft of writing poetry.
2. Identify and evaluate the technical and stylistic choices made by the writer of contemporary poetry.
3. Understand how these choices can be applied to their own writing.
4. Develop their capacities for close reading and editorial scrutiny.
5. Apply these developed skills to the reading of poetry produced by their classmates and by themselves.
6. Begin to identify their own formal, stylistic and thematic approaches.
7. Reflect on the range of narrative, stylistic and technical choices open to the contemporary writer.
8. Apply sophisticated writing techniques to their own creative work.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Develop their capacities for close reading and editorial analysis.
2. Develop their creative writing skills to an advanced level.
3. Develop their communication skills, particularly in responding to others' work in the context of the workshop.

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