In six of the classes, we will examine poems by a number of notable contemporary poets and analyze what is fresh and original about their poetic styles. On the alternate (six) weeks we will discuss poems we have composed in the styles of some of these poets. The poets will be chosen from the following list: Simon Armitage, Emily Berry, John Burnside, Selima Hill, Sarah Howe, Luke Kennard, Mimi Khalvati, Mick Imlah, Paul Muldoon, Alice Oswald, Carol Rumens, Jo Shapcott.



Objectives & Learning Outcomes

This course has four main aims:

  1. to acquaint students with some of the outstanding English poetic voices of the C21st (to date).
  2. To help to develop skills in creative writing as well as critical analysis.
  3. to improve students’ reading, writing, analytical and research skills.
  4. to situate these poetic works within their socio-political, historical and literary contexts.




This course will not be a series of lectures. The classes will take the form of group discussions and readings augmented where appropriate by audio‑visual materials. In six of the classes we will explore and discuss  poems by some of the poets listed above. In alternate weeks we will explore, discuss and revise poems participants have written in response to poems we have read.




The course is assessed 100% by coursework. This comprises two components: 30% for attendance, group-work and class participation; 70% for a portfolio of exercises arising out of the work done in class.  

The portfolio will include: a) critical analyses of poems studied, b) students’ own (edited) poems written in response to the poems we have explored and c) a contribution to a class poem based on Alice Oswald’s long poem Dart (2002). 




Handouts and information about the selected poems will be provided together with critical, biographical and bibliographical material. Please attend the first lecture for more details.



Last updated: 29 July 2019