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Inside Poetry

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What makes a poem? What makes a poet? How can reading shape writing?

This practical creative and critical writing module will introduce students to some of the main issues within the discipline of writing contemporary poetry. By giving you the space both to read and write, the module aims to develop your creative and analytical writing skills, build confidence, and help you to situate yourself as part of a poetic community.

The primary aim of the module is to give you the knowledge and understanding to undertake more sustained or sophisticated writing projects, and to hone your critical reflection and feedback skills.

Students on the Inside Narratives Pathway who are aiming for the BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing programme are strongly advised to select this module alongside Inside Literature and Inside Creative Writing.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through nine 2-hour workshops, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work, and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Syllabus content

  • What makes a poem? Introduction to the Poetry Workshop: reading poems, writing poems.
  • ‘I am, I am, I am’: The lyric I and the confessional poem.
  • Self-reflection not self-obsession: keeping a poetry journal.
  • Poetry about the important stuff: eco-poetry, politics, lived experience…
  • Form and poetic techniques: challenge yourself (and break the rules).
  • ‘There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!’: Poetry written for children.
  • ‘Slam!’: Poetry in the Real World. Spoken word, performance, the poetry festival.
  • Trending: Poetry in the Virtual World. Instapoets, social media platforms.
  • How traditional (and not-so-traditional) poetry publishing works: submissions, magazines, anthologies, collections. Building poetic communities: supporting each other and ‘giving back’.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

For the assessment, you will produce a portfolio of creative writing, including a reflective component. Portfolios will be in the region of 1,500 – 2,000 words.

Reading suggestions

A full reading list will be provided by the tutor.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.