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Poetry in Practice (5 weeks)

Course Times & Enrolment

Thursdays from 2nd November 2023 (Code CW110-101) Thursdays from
2nd November 2023 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (5 classes)
1.26 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Nicky Melville MA MPhil PhD
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

It is no longer the case that poetry is ‘the best words in the best order,’ as Coleridge once contended. Poetry is having a moment. To name but a few current trends in the field: process poetry, appropriation, visual poetry, slam poetry, insta poetry, conceptual poetry, digital poetry, as well as the traditional, such as sonnets and poems that rhyme. The new assertion could be ‘any words in any order.’ How does one approach poetry as a newcomer in this arena?
Contemporary poetics, and traditions considered anew, form the basis of this course, engaging with modern approaches and concerns to produce poems of any words in any order.
This course will focus on reading and writing modern and contemporary poetry, always keeping in mind the history of poetry and poetics. Through mini-lectures, close reading, discussion and exercises we will consider various aspects of the practice of modern poetry and practise writing poetry in class.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Content of Course

Week 1 – What is Poetry?

Week 2 – Poetry Now

Week 3 – Experimental forms

Week 4 – Workshop 1

Week 5 – Workshop 2 & Next Steps

Teaching method(s)

Each two hour session will comprise of two elements: close reading and discussion of texts; practical writing exercise(s) related to the theme of each class.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Appraise & explore the formal qualities of modern & contemporary poetry;
  2. Discuss the work of selected modern & contemporary poets;
  3. Experiment in diverse forms & techniques of poetic composition;
  4. Write their own poems in forms they have not previously used;
  5. Access resources, submit work and perform their own poetry.


Core Readings

Core readings:

  • Williams, R., 2019. The Poetry Toolkit. Third Edition. London: Bloomsbury.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.