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What is poetry?

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Have you always wanted to try to write poetry but never quite managed to start? This free course, What is poetry?, 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.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the common techniques underlying free verse and traditional forms of poetry
  • identify personal experiences that can be used when writing poems
  • understand the basic terminology and practical elements of poetry.

By: The Open University

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What is poetry?


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This course 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 course, the key terms we discuss are highlighted in bold. Definitions for these terms are provided in the glossary at the end of the course.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in Arts and Humanities [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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