How do we read poems, and what language can we use to describe our readings? This module will provide a detailed introduction to the particular qualities your ear, eye and brain will need to read poetry more effectively. You will study key features of poetic language in detail, including metre, sound, voice, rhetoric and tone. You will also be introduced to various genres that make play with these features, from repetition in the ballad form to the shifting voices of the lyric. You will have the opportunity to read poems from many periods and traditions, from the medieval riddle to the postmodern elegy.
The aim of this module is not to help you make inventories: a successful reading of a poem is more than a technical exercise or a prose paraphrase. You will read a selection of criticism during the module, and consider how poetry’s peculiar alchemy might be described in words. By building your confidence in poetic language, you will sharpen your appetite and develop your taste for poetry in all its forms.