This Course is Expired

Writing Poetry

This course will provide you with all you need to shape your materials into an enjoyable and accessible literary work.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : General/Others

Function : General

Trainer name : Ms Kate Potts

Starts on : 29th Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

Poetry can seem like a members-only club. Even the names of poetic forms such as 'sonnet', 'villanelle', and 'sestina' can be as intimidating as the list of writers associated with them, from Shakespeare to Shelley to Sean O’Brien. This course is designed to demystify poetic composition, and to help students to gain the confidence to produce poems of their own.

It introduces students to a wide range of poems and poetic techniques with the aim of enabling them to gain a deeper appreciation of how poetry works, an understanding of the forms best suited to the kind of statements that they are interested in making, and confidence in deploying such devices as metre, rhyme, figurative language. This course is for anyone who would like to start to write - or to write better - poetry.

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce participants to a wide variety of poetic technique and form.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching methods

  • guided reading;
  • guided writing tasks;
  • guided use of relevant websites;
  • use of tutor notes and handouts;
  • close critical analyses of selected extracts from the texts studied and participant’s own writing.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course participants will be expected to understand:

  • a wide range of verse forms and structures; 
  • notable examples of poetic forms from the history of literature in English;
  • the relative advantages and challenges of one verse form over another;
  • which forms and techniques are best suited to one’s own emerging voice.

By the end of this course participants will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • competence and confidence in writing in a wide range of verse forms; 
  • an ability to recognise and experiment with different poetic structures and techniques;
  • an ability to articulate their intentions and achievement in engaging with poetic form.

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following books:  

Strand, Mark, and Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Ltd, 2001. Hollander, John, Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

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Course Content

  • Rhyme, Rhythm and Metre
  • Figurative Language
  • Divisions
  • Blank Verse
  • Syllabic verse and free verse
  • Free Verse II
  • Lyric Poetry
  • The Sonnet
  • Pastoral
  • What More and What Next


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