EL4004 - Reading Poetry

What will I learn on this module?

This module encourages you to read and enjoy poetry whilst also developing your understanding of how figurative language, linguistic choice and formal technique work to produce the meanings that we derive from poetry. The module is structured to help you develop competence in close reading of literary texts and to increase your familiarity with the critical vocabulary that will enable you to discuss and analyse poetic language in an informed manner. You will also be encouraged to increase your awareness of the diverse nature of poetic composition and to recognise the importance of genre, context and form in the reading of poetic language. Working on the principle that close reading is an essential part of critical analysis of any text, the module provides a foundation for all subsequent elements of your studies in English Literature. Moreover, because these skills in understanding poetry are an essential first step in creating it, the module seeks to foster an understanding of the creative process that will improve your familiarity with poetic technique and thus help to develop your creative skills. The module elides the gap between the creative and critical spheres and in so doing enrich both.

How will I learn on this module?

1 x weekly 1-hour lecture
1 x weekly 2-hour seminar/creative writing workshop

You will learn on this module through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. Each week, a 1-hour lecture will establish the critical and contextual framework for a specific aspect of poetry, poetics and creative writing, presented for analysis and enhanced learning. You will explore these topics further through practical close readings of poetry in a 2-hour seminar. Seminars will also function on alternating weeks as workshops for creative writing, in order to develop your portfolios of original poetry for assessment.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to discussion. Informal presentations will be used as well as group work to facilitate student engagement.

Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lectures, seminars, preparatory reading and composition will help you to develop your understanding of poetry and poetics. The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning portal. The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Moreover, feedback on formative work and the summative assessments will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)
You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Improved critical reading of poetry
2. Knowledge and understanding of the techniques utilised by poets.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Enhanced critical reading and writing skills.
4. Ability to compose original verse, reflecting understanding of poetics.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Creativity

How will I be assessed?

a. A 1-hour mock exam in class, involving analysis of an unseen poem, in practice of the summative examination. You will receive formative feedback in one-to-one consultation in class. This addresses KU 1 and IPSA 3.

b. Composition of 30 lines of poetry, with an analytical commentary. You will receive written feedback to enhance your composition towards the summative assignment. This addresses the Module Learning Outcome: IPSA 4 and PVA 5. (Option A)

c. A 500-word essay plan in preparation for a summative assessment engaging with poetry and poetics. KU 1 & IPSA 3. (Option B)

a. 1 x 1-hour examination: written analysis of an unseen poem from a choice of three. (50%) This addresses KU1 & 2, IPSA3.

b. Coursework: You will submit either a portfolio of creative work or a critical essay. Your work in the seminars will build towards both options, and tutors will guide you in your choice by providing feedback on draft work. You should submit either 60 lines of original poetry along with a 500-word critical commentary, or a 2000 word essay demonstrating engagement with poetics, literary theory, and poetic criticism. Both options address learning outcomes KU1&2, IPSA 3&4 and PVA 5.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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