EAS3312 - Adventures in Technique (Poetry)

2021/2 Module description

StaffProfessor Andy Brown - Convenor
Dr John Clarke - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesPrevious creative writing modules at Exeter, or equivalent elsewhere.
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

In this module you will explore advanced techniques for writing poetry, exploring the functions that form serves in helping poets present particular sets of ideas, images and subjects. You will discover the intrinsic relationship between shape, sound, visual presentation, and meaning. You will experiment with finding the right form for the right subject, experimenting with a range of different forms and constraints, from traditional lyric forms, through to experimental and innovative techniques. This course will therefore add an exploratory and innovative set of techniques to those you have already learned in years 1 and 2 (developing your appreciation of form from free verse, sonnets, prose poems, ballads and others) to include surprising and challenging approaches to writing poetry.

Module aims

You will be encouraged to develop a range of technical responses to materials and examples discussed in writing workshops, within the framework set by creative reading, drafting, discussion and re-writing. The module examines a range of advanced poetic techniques employed by contemporary and C20th poets, which you will explore as models for developing your own advanced ‘tool kit’ of poetic techniques and forms.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of a range of English language poetry
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the generic conventions of poetry, and to the shaping effects of authorship and intended audience
  • 3. Demonstrate a capacity to produce poetry in a range of styles and genres, in a manner informed by recommended reading

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of formal techniques and imaginative expression in creative writing
  • 5. Present persuasive oral arguments concerning your own creative writing and the work of other authors, both peers and published writers
  • 6. Articulate a broad range of appropriate critical and professional terminology

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Through seminar work, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 8. Demonstrate advanced skills in creative expression, and a capacity to write clearly and correctly
  • 9. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis

Syllabus plan

The syllabus will include a detailed study of ‘The Sound of Sense’, using blank verse and metre revisited and stretched.

You will investigate the pattern making of forms such as the villanelle, terzanelle, triolet, and other repetitive forms: pantoum, sestina, and specular form.

In popular forms of performance poetry today, repetition, rhythm, pace and tone, rhyme, and other techniques of orality play a prominent role, and you will explore these. Other popular tropes in poetry today include ‘Translation and Versioning’ and the syllabus will cover approaches to these, as well as non-traditional forms such as Golden Shovels, Abecedaries, Collage, Found material, Centos, Concrete Poetry, and the visual text.

Through encounters with chance procedures, procedural techniques, and OuLiPo style constraints you will also experiment with the shaping forces of form. You will keep an annotated ‘Reading Log’ of all your encounters with these materials, showing how your readings of form and technique have influenced your own portfolio of writing.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Weekly seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Weekly workshop (11 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study100Preparation for seminars/workshop
Guided Independent Study100Study groups, research, reading
Guided Independent Study67Assessment – drafting and writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of writing in developmentOngoing, variable1-9Oral feedback in seminar with opportunity for office-hours follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poetry Portfolio80250 lines1-3, 7, 8Feedback sheet with opportunity for office-hours follow-up
Annotated course Log Book of technical reading relating to the course, chosen by the students2025 A4 pages Absolute Minimum1,2, 4, 5, 6, 9Oral feedback, opportunity for office-hours discussion

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Poetry portfolioPoetry portfolio1-3, 7, 8Referral/deferral period
Annotated course Log Book of technical reading relating to the course, chosen by the student25 A4 pages Absolute Minimum1,2, 4, 5, 6, 9Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

A precise reading list will be available on the module’s ELE page for each week, and tutors will provide you with weekly reading in class.

Based on class reading and discussions with your tutors and peers, you are expected to devise a reading list OF YOUR OWN, that will form the basis of your LOG BOOK OF READING for this module (20%), absolute minimum of 25 A4 pages), to include:

1. The annotated poems of AT LEAST THREE contemporary poets who have published books in recent years
2. Annotations of passages from AT LEAST TWO critical/technical books on the use of form, constraint and poetic technique

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

English, Creative Writing, Poetry

Important please note

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the module descriptors for the Online Module Selection process, please be aware that on rare occasions it may be necessary to remove proposed modules for reasons beyond our control. In addition, there are still some new modules going through the accreditation process. These will be offered in due course by the relevant discipline.

All modules displayed below have been approved by the approval process but may require further minor amendments before the commencement of teaching.

We are committed to providing an outstanding education and high quality teaching. You can find out details of your modules and any potential changes on these pages. If you are a returning student, joining after the first year or a postgraduate student details of your module changes will be provided in August. Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.

Foreign Language Centre modules 2020/21

Term 1 module codes listed above ending with C, i.e. FLF1115C, are only available to outbound students who are away in Term 2. Students studying all year must select the standard module across both Term 1 and 2.