BRITISH POETRY: 1945 TO THE PRESENT

This course has explored some of the rich and varied poetry written and published in Britain between 1945 and the present. We have been thinking about different ways to read poetry, looking at sound and image, metre and rhyme and the role of poetic forms and genres (ballad, ode, sonnet) in making meaning in poetry. Many readers who are confident about drama and fiction are apprehensive about poetry and we’ll address this with an emphasis on close reading, the values of reading aloud and by thinking about some of the changing contexts in which poetry has been written, read and published since 1945.

In the Summer term we’ll be thinking at three, very different contemporary poets in three, very different collections. Publication details are given below. Please note the term is 7 weeks long and runs from May 18 to July 6 (half term is the week of June 1)

Note: For anyone joining the course for the first time in the Summer term. In the Spring term we have been thinking about the varied possibilities of the sonnet as a form and in week 1, we’ll be spending much of the class discussing sonnets that students have written. Please feel free to write one yourself and bring it with you or bring along a sonnet that you particularly like that we can discuss.

Week 1, May 18
We’ll discuss our sonnets and make a start on Christopher Reid. Make sure you read ‘The Flowers of Crete’ (the first poem sequence in A Scattering)

Weeks 2 and 3, May 25 and June 8
Christopher Reid’s A Scattering (Arete, 2009),

Weeks 4 and 5, June 15 and June 22
Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients (Picador, 2013).

Weeks 6 and 7, June 29 and July 6
Simon Armitage, Paper Aeroplanes: Selected Poems 1989-2014 (Faber, 2015)