Course Content (Syllabus)
This course aims to introduce students to contemporary English-language poetry in Great Britain and Ireland by tracing the most important developments, poets, texts and movements from the post-war period to the present day. After a brief overview of the contemporary poets’ most influential forebears, students will be given the opportunity to be introduced to the politically committed poetry of the 30s, the surrealist and New Romantic trends of the 40s, the “Movement” of the 50s, the “British Poetry Revival” of the 60s and the 70s, and we will conclude by considering some of the most engaging and original poetry written in Britain and Ireland the last three decades as expressed through some contemporary movements like the “Martians,” the “Poeclectics,” the “Poetry Slam,” the “New Poetry,” and the “New Generation” movement, minority poetry, performance poetry, new media, digital, experimental and twitter poetry. The emphasis of the course will be on reading and engaging with poetry first hand. The organizing principle throughout the course will, nevertheless, be the connection between poetry and innovation, form, gender, multiculturalism, minority issues, politics, nationality, performativity, spatiality, subjectivity (especially the lyric subject) and electronic writing.
Some of the poets to be discussed: Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Tony Harrison, Don Paterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Jacky Kay, Grace Nichols, Benjamin Zephaniah, Liz Lockhead, James Denton, Simon Armitage, Andrew Motion, etc
Additional bibliography for study
Acheson, James and Romana Huk, eds, Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in
Theory and Criticism. Albany: State University of NY Press, 1996.
Alvarez, A., ed. The New Poetry. Harmondsworth: Penguin 1966.
Armand, Louis. Contemporary Poetics. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 2006.
Astley, Neil. ed. New Blood. Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 1999.
Brinton, Ian. Contemporary Poetry: Poets and Poetry since 1990. Cambridge:
Cambridge UP, 2009.
Broom, Sarah. Contemporary British and Irish Poetry: An Introduction. Basingstoke:
Caddel, R. and Peter Quartermain, eds. Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970.
Middletown: Wesleyan Up, 1999.
Conquest, R., ed. New Lines. London: Macmillan, 1956.
Couzyn, Jeni, ed. The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Women Poets. Newcastle:
Enright, D. J., ed. The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse 1945-1980.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 1980.
Horovitz, Muichael, ed. Children of Albion: Poetry of the Underground in Britain.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.
Padley, Steve. Key Concepts in Contemporary Literature. Basingstoke: Palgrave,
Paterson, Don and Charles simic, eds. New British Poetry. Minneapolis: Graywolf
Roberts, Andrew and Jonathan Allison, eds. Poetry and Contemporary Culture.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2002.
Tuma, Keith, ed. Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry. New
York: Oxford UP, 2001.