Surrey University Stag

UNDERSTANDING POETRY - 2023/4

Module code: ELI1021

Module Overview

This module is designed to give students the confidence to read, study, and enjoy poetry. Over the course of the module students will learn to read and think critically and creatively about poems in English from a range of genres, historical periods and sub/cultures, about the formal elements of verse (such as rhyme, lineation, stanza structure, and metre), and about the social, political,global and intellectual contexts that shape poetic writing. The module will introduce and examine the technical features of poetry as a form, and offer an in-depth consideration of some of the most important poetic genres: epic, lyric, dramatic, and free verse. In the final week of the module, a lecture given by one of Surrey University’s professional poets will introduce students to the most recent trends in contemporary poetry. By enabling students to acquire the knowledge and critical skills needed to appreciate and analyse poems, this module will provide a foundation for the study of poetry at degree level. Peer-led discussion of debates around poetry, and workshopping and portfolio-building in seminars, fosters resilience and confidence (in analytical and/or creative writing; sharing ideas and written work in class) whilst developing transferable writing, communication and presentation skills suitable for a range of careers. This module connects to other first year modules in both the English literature and creative writing streams to ground students in the basics of their discipline, setting the scene for more in depth knowledge and practice development in modules throughout the degree. As a hybrid creative writing and English literature module, it also makes up part of the creative writing pathway in the degree, connecting to creative writing modules in the first, second and final years.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

ROSE Lucy Ella (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: Q320

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 60

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 67

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None.  

Module content

Indicative module content:

This module traces the evolution of poetry, focusing on the 4 major genres: epic, lyric, dramatic, and free verse. It covers a broad range of poetry from its origins in Greek epic poetry up to poetic trends of the present day, covering a range of periods, movements and authors. It encourages an interrogation of the relationship between form and content, gender and genre, text and contexts, offering an understanding of the cultural and global inspirations and influences of poetry. It provides students with a broad knowledge of poetry and poets, offering a solid basis from which to study poetry on modules at levels 5 and 6. By encouraging independent and collaborative work, supportive peer-led learning and workshopping, and use of digital tools and online poetry collections, this module fosters resourcefulness and resilience as well as transferable analytical, creative, presentational and organizational skills integral to the programme and to employability.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay (2000 words) OR Creative Writing Portfolio (45 lines of poetry) and Self-Reflective Commentary (500 words) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achieve-ment of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in communicating ideas orally and in working individually and as part of a group, fostering confidence, collaboration, resourcefulness and resilience. It also assesses subject knowledge of the formal elements of poetry in English, and of the historical, social, cultural, global and intellectual contexts of poetic writing. Seminars also develop and assess cognitive and analytical skills in critical thinking and in analysis of literary form, offering students a supportive environment in which to share ideas and diverse perspectives.

The essay assesses subject knowledge relating to formal elements of poetry in English considered right across the module, together with the historical, the social, cultural, global and the intellectual contexts of poetic writing. The essay also assesses cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in analysis of literary form, and transferable professional skills in communicating ideas in writing. The essay further assesses professional/practical skills, specifically the ability to plan and implement timetables for essay deadlines.

As an alternative to an Essay, students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme MAY alternatively submit a portfolio of creative writing and accompanying self-reflexive commentary for their final assessment. This assessment option allows you to demonstrate:

* Subject knowledge relating to the close analysis of form, meaning and language in poetry to demonstrate:
* Cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking.
* Professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing.
* Creative engagement with the opportunities and limitations of a particular mode of writing
* Creative engagement with the texts and themes discussed on the module
* An ability to locate your own creative work fruitfully and articulately in relation to existing literary traditions and the contemporary field of literary production

Summative assessment

Essay (2000 words) OR Creative Writing Portfolio (45 lines of poetry) and Self-Reflective Commentary (500 words)

Please note that the option of submitting a Creative Writing Portfolio and Self-Reflective Commentary is available only to students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme


Formative assessment and feedback

For students on the English Literature programme, verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor and peer feedback in seminars, Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on an essay plan (maximum of 250 words or equivalent) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester).

For students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme, verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor and peer feedback in seminars, on short pieces (5 lines of poetry or 250 words of prose poetry, or equivalent in another form) presented as part of the confidence building safe space of the creative writing workshop element of the classes.

Each student can expect to present 2-3 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort. Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 500 words or equivalent) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester).

For both sets of students writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module.

There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand, analyse, and enjoy poetry
  • introduce a range of critical and theoretical approaches to reading and studying poetry
  • examine the key issues, terminologies, and cultural and global contexts involved in the academic study of poetry
  • develop skills in the close reading and critical analysis of poetic language, imagery, and form
  • help students to think and learn independently, and to manage and organise their time efficiently
  • train students to research and evaluate sources, debates, and ideas, and to communicate their conclusions clearly and accurately in writing, developing transferable professional skills
  • enable students to discuss, debate, and exchange complex ideas as part of a group, fostering resilience and collaborative learning
  • Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment are also being given the opportunity to respond creatively to an assigned writing task, to engage in a creative manner to the works of others, and to gain practice in identifying the ways in which their own writing fits into (and perhaps helps transform our understanding of) the existing literary landscape

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will have developed: a detailed knowledge of the formal elements of poetry in English K
002 A detailed knowledge of the historical, social, cultural, global and intellectual contexts of poetic writing K
003 The ability to read and think about poetry critically, and to apply a range of critical and theoretical approaches to particular poems and poetic genres KC
004 The capacity to research, interpret, and evaluate sources, debates, and ideas KCP
005 Skills in independent learning and time management and skills for effective oral communication PT
006 The ability to structure and communicate complex arguments in writing CT
007 (For Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme): an ability, when submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment, to engage creatively as well as critically with the themes, topics and texts on this module KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive and analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical, and professional skills in communication and presentation (both verbal and written). Specifically, the lectures deliver the knowledge and skills needed to understand, analyse, and enjoy poetry, critical and theoretical approaches to reading and studying poetry, key issues, terminologies, and contexts involved in studying poetry, with detailed knowledge of the formal elements of poetry in English, and detailed knowledge of the historical, social, cultural, global and intellectual contexts of poetic writing. The weekly seminars involve student-led discussions that develop skills in communication and in working individually as well as part of a group, encouraging a range of perspectives from different backgrounds and cultures. The seminars also provide students with instruction on planning and implementing timetables for work and on presenting ideas coherently under time constraints, fostering organizational skills.

At FHEQ Level 4, each module is taught in a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar, every week. Students are introduced to subject knowledge through the lectures. Further subject knowledge (e.g. web- links, critical reading, podcasts) is made available through SurreyLearn, which enables students to develop IT skills in accessing and utilising digital resources, such as online poetry performances and collections. Seminars, in which students are expected to have done core reading and to discuss this in class with their tutor and peers, serve to ground this subject knowledge further and to give students a reasonable level of attainment in the programme’s cognitive, practical and transferable skills. Discussions in seminars and workshops aim to give students further practical and transferable skills in working with others, learning from supportive peer-based feedback, and in using rhetorical skills for argument. This prepares students for the formative assessment of the close reading, and the summative assessment of a written essay.

The learning and teaching methods include a combination of lecture materials, seminars, captured content, guided learning and independent learning

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI1021

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: This module acts alongside other first year modules in both the English literature and creative writing streams to ground students in the basics of their discipline, setting the scene for more in depth knowledge and practice development in modules throughout the degree which facilitate students in both streams in homing and developing their compositional skills as writers and/or critics.
In this 1st year module you will get the chance as an English Literature student to examine poetic form and explore the subtleties and nuances of language and meaning that poetry enables. This feeds directly into writing, language and analytical skills that your degree will help you develop that are prized so highly by modern employers in literature and writing students. Alongside this, exposure to key critical materials will help hone your analytical skills even further.
As a creative writing student, you will get the chance to explore poetic form, style and language alongside the study of major works in the form and alongside key critical materials that will help you develop and contextualise your own writing. We will look at areas such as concision, poetic form and style, structuring, meaning and nuance, narrative and non-narrative modes of writing and other formal aspects of the writing craft.
The skills developed in this module, expanded and refined in later literature and creative writing modules across your degree, will help equip you for the vast range of employment and career pathways that our students go on to after (and sometimes during) their degree, beyond that of academic or creative writer (novelist, poet, non-fiction writer, for example). Amongst these are: copywriting, editorial roles, teaching, publishing, marketing, proofreading, journalism and social media roles of all types just to name a few.
For both English literature and creative writing students, you will get the opportunity to experiment with and present critical and creative work in the workshop settings as well as respond to the work of other writers and critics, another set of key skills that English literature and creative writing bring to the table in a host of career and employment settings.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Literature and creative writing are fields that teach us about the human experience and our part in local and global cultures, facilitating exchange of ideas and experiences and helping to foster creative and cultural empathy in readers and writers of all kinds across the globe. Creative and critical writing in these fields also play a very important recording and preservation role in narrativising and keeping alive and vibrant different cultures and experiences, especially those that might otherwise be silenced or endangered. In this module you will be asked to respond in critically or creatively to texts and modes of writing from different cultures and times, and are encouraged to share and/or write your experiences and knowledge, and those from your own cultures and backgrounds, to think about that of other students and writers, to respect and value differences in experience and to bring this knowledge into you critical and creative writing practice right from the beginning of you study of literature, writing on their varied and diverse contexts.
The weekly seminar and workshopping sessions give students the opportunity to present your own narrative to the study and writing of poetry and to experience and respond to those of others in a friendly, constructive and open forum.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: English Literature as a discipline exposes us to different, varied and diverse experiences from history as well as our contemporary world. These literatures and the critical material around them teach us many things about ourselves as people, individuals and communities. How and why we behave and think the ways we do, how we cope with the challenges that our lives (and our lives in university!) throw at us. Famously, literature conveys important lessons, comfort and significance (emotional, mental and spiritual) to us through the medium of language, not just in what it says, but how it says it. Poetry, as perhaps the most concentrated form of literary expression, allows us to experience, understand and express feelings and concepts that everyday language sometimes cannot access. Poetry is good for the soul, as the saying goes!
For creative writing students, the life of a writer can often be a solitary and isolating one. This module, through workshopping, group work and shared writerly experience will help equip you for the real world setting of your current and future writing practice. You will also be introduced to constructive critical workshopping as a mode of not just engaging with writing practice and of presenting and thinking about your work and that of your creative writing peers but also the workshop as your own writing community to which you belong and can rely on for support and practical help in your writing. Some of these writing friendships and writerly connections you make in your creative writing seminars and workshops you will likely carry forward throughout your career as a writer. You will also benefit from the experience of your tutors as professional writers working today, who started out just like you, and from periodic guest speakers attached to this and later creative writing modules as you progress through your degree. This module helps set the stage for more detailed discussions in later creative writing modules on your degree about your practice as a writer, the practicalities of building a portfolio of writing and a profile as a writer, the realities of the publishing industries and the importance of connecting to writing communities that will be essential to your current and future emotional and practical wellbeing and success as a writer.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.