- Current section: Introduction
- Learning Outcomes
- 1 What is poetry?: an introduction
- 2 Forming the form
- 3 What is poetry?
- 4 Impersonation and imagination
- 5 Poetic techniques
- 6 Rhyme
- 7 Other rhyming techniques
- 8 Stress and rhythm
- 9 Metre
- 10 Hold that space!
- Next steps
from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
What is poetry?
Have you always wanted to try to write poetry but never quite managed to start? This...
Have you always wanted to try to write poetry but never quite managed to start? This unit is designed to illustrate the techniques behind both the traditional forms of poetry and free verse. You will learn how you can use your own experiences to develop ideas and how to harness your imagination.
By the end of your study of this unit, you should have:
- an understanding of the common techniques underlying free verse and traditional forms of poetry;
- begun to identify aspects of your own experience and imagination that you can use when writing poems;
- learnt the basic terminology and practical elements of poetry.
What is poetry?
This unit introduces common techniques underlying free verse and traditional forms of poetry, and how it is necessary to use these techniques in order to harness what T.S. Eliot called the ‘logic of the imagination’ (Eliot, 1975, p. 77). We discuss the possibility of using your own experience, but also the power of imagination, and of utilising different personae in your poems. You are also introduced to the basic terminology and practical elements of poetry – the line, line-breaks, stanzas, couplets, tercets, quatrains and other stanza lengths, rhyme, rhythm, caesura and metre. As you work through the unit, the key terms we discuss are highlighted in bold. Definitions for these terms are provided in the glossary at the end of the unit.
The Open University is conducting a survey investigating how people use the free educational content on our OpenLearn website. The aim is to provide a better free learning experience for everyone. So if you’re a regular user of OpenLearn and have 10 minutes to spare, we’d be delighted if you could take part and
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Literature course units or view the range of currently available OU Literature courses.