Modern and Contemporary Poetry

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Modern and Contemporary Poetry

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    English, Literature, Poetry

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    18 200-level ENGL points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    A study of a range of twentieth and twenty-first-century poetry.

    Over the past century, poetry has offered challenging new perspectives on the nature of art and literature, language and representation, culture and identity, and media and technology. Modern and Contemporary Poetry introduces canonical and lesser-known players the in 20th century's radical innovations in verbal art, alongside a range of poets who continue to push the boundaries of language today.

    The paper also places modern and contemporary poetry in a broader context. On the one hand, we investigate the relationship between poetry and political, social and technological change. On the other hand, we assess the interaction between poetry and other art forms, especially music and the visual arts. We end the paper by confronting questions about the boundaries of poetry today, through a look at multi-media, conceptual and digital poetics.

    Paper Structure
    Each week begins by introducing a poet whose work has shaped the course of modern and contemporary poetry, from T. S. Eliot to Gertrude Stein, Frank O?Hara to Langston Hughes. The second class compares the work of this influential poet with that of a contemporary 21st-century writer whose work in some way draws on or responds to the earlier poet's example.

    Students will also have opportunities to meet local and visiting poets, to attend live readings and to explore the material culture of modern and contemporary poetry ? from rare books and manuscripts to the printing press.

    -Weekly reading responses: 20% (students must submit a minimum of four over the course of the semester and be prepared to discuss their responses in class; responses can be in the form of critical or creative work)
    -Proposal for independent research project: 10%
    -Independent research project: 30% (this may be presented as an essay, but other forms of research are also possible)
    -Exam: 40% (3 hours)

    Please note that the outline above is indicative only and may be subject to change.

    Learning Outcomes
    By the end of the course, you should be able to:
    -Analyse a poem with confidence
    -Present a coherent argument about a poem based on your analysis
    -Independently research a topic in modern and contemporary poetry
    -Compare and critically evaluate major moments and movements in 20th-century English-language poetry
    -Theorise about the relationship between poetry and the rapid social, political, economic and technological developments of the 20th and early 21st centuries
    -Reflect on the relationship between developments in poetry and the other arts
    -Critically evaluate major aesthetic, philosophical and political issues that have shaped and continue to shape the production and reception of modern and contemporary poetry

    Modern and Contemporary Poetry Anthology (available from the Print Shop), supplemented by readings available for download via Blackboard.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.