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CREW 402: Writing poetry

This module aims to do two things: to encourage the student to think about contemporary poems in several different visual dimensions but always from the viewpoint of the practitioner; and it offers an opportunity for them to develop their own work in progress, while at the same time actively promoting their critical reflection upon the process of writing and the visual dynamics a poem can activate and contain. The module admits that the ‘how to’ approach might be of less use when it comes to writing poetry, and instead promotes and explores a wider sphere of influences, encouraging experiment and engagement. A critical exegesis allows the student to reflect upon the decisions made and the effects sought in their creative project. These aims will be achieved through a variety of methods:

Strand One: Seminars

The course will be taught through two-hour sessions. Following the introductory session, subsequent bi-weekly seminars will focus on different ways of looking at and thinking about contemporary poems, as timetabled below. Following a brief contextualising presentation led by the tutor, students will make group presentations on the specific theme of the session, with reference to the set texts under discussion. Seminar discussions are followed by practical writing exercises tailored to the theme of the seminar. Bi-weekly workshop sessions allow for the student to apply the insight gained through reading, reflection and practice, to their own creative work.

Strand Two: Workshops

Bi-weekly workshop sessions are designed to develop the students own work-in-progress. Students will submit samples of their creative work through the VLE, for fellow students and the course convenor to access, read, and reflect upon. In the workshop session, students will receive formative feedback in tutor-led classroom discussion of the work, and offer their own feedback on others' work. This practice-led, workshop model of teaching Creative Writing is as recommended by both NAWE and the AHRC, and replicates the professional experience of responding to feedback from writing groups, first readers, editors and agents.

Workshop and Seminar Sessions fall bi-weekly, so that students are enabled to apply the insight gained and skills developed in each type of session to the work undertaken in the other. The move from critical study to creative engagement has been found to be a useful creative strategy in the teaching of Creative Writing within the department, and is something we have been encouraged to continue and develop by external examiners. 

Strand Three: Personal Tutorial

Personal tutorials are to be held at a mid-point of the course. At this point the student will have the opportunity to discuss their ongoing creative project and receive individual formative feedback on their work.  This takes place at mid-point so as to give the student a moment of reflection and guidance at a useful point in the course, well in advance of assessment.


The most appropriate form of assessment for the course is a portfolio: a set of 10 poems (each poem a ‘page’ poem, between sonnet and sestina in length), combined with a critical exegesis (1000 words) and an appendix of exercises undertaken (unassessed); students will construct individual projects, reflecting their interests, in consultation with the tutor in their Week 6 personal tutorial.

For details about reading lists and seminar topics, please refer to the course handbook.

Student Journals

Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»

Share research and make connections with other researchers. Go to the Luminary»


The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»

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