Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Practical Criticism: Poetry

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit aims to introduce students to the practice of the critical analysis of poetry.

This study-unit will offer an overview of poetry criticism and its diverse traditions. It will explore varied aspects of poetics and consider the claims made for the relation between poetry and aesthetics.

Readings may include relevant essays or articles by J. C. Ransom, I. A. Richards, William Empson, W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, M. H. Abrams, and Helen Vendler. The discussions prompted by such readings will serve as a preamble for practical sessions focused on the critique of poetry. Works analysed in the practical sessions are chosen from a broad range of poets taken from different periods of English literature and, may include poems by John Donne, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, R. S. Thomas, Philip Larkin, Geoffrey Hill, Seamus Heaney, Kay Ryan and C. K. Williams. Issues discussed will include, among others, the question of poetic form; formal constraints and variations on generic forms; tone and voice; metre and free verse, ambiguity in poetic language.

Reading List:

There are no set texts, other than the aforementioned extracts, but the following may be useful for further reading:

Eagleton, Terry, How to Read a Poem (Malden: Blackwell, 2007).

Lennard, John, The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Vendler, Helen, Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%
Important - Due to the COVID19 Pandemic the information regarding the method of assessment indicated above may have been changed. Further details have been provided by your F/I/C/S.

LECTURER/S Janice Sant

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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.