The Forms of Modern Poetry

Module code: EN3071

Module co-ordinator: Nick Everett

In this module you will study the principal forms and metres of poetry in English and explore some of the diverse uses of form in 20th century American, British, and Irish poetry. You will also have an opportunity for creative activity, writing weekly poetic exercises in the forms studied to enhance your appreciation of formal and rhythmic effects.

We will look at inherited forms - including blank verse, sonnets, ballads, sestinas and heroic couplets - as a wide range of poets have adapted them, and at some of the many free and experimental forms developed by poets in the 20th century. 

Most of the poems you will study are included in The Norton Anthology of Poetry.


  • 22 one-hour seminars
  • 1 hour of project supervision


  • Essay, 2,000
  • Nine poems, each in a form covered by the module  

The module mark will be calculated either as Poems 70% and Essay 30% or Poems 30% and Essay 70%, whichever yields the higher mark.