The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Genius of the Modern World: FreudFriday, 1st July 2016 02:40 - BBC FourIn the final episode, Bettany Hughes explores the world of Sigmund Freud. Read more: Genius of the Modern World: Freud
Thinking Allowed 2016: Good neighbours, The connection between sport and domestic abuseMonday, 4th July 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4
The Secret Life of Children's Books: Five Children and ItMonday, 4th July 2016 20:30 - BBC Four
Genius of the Modern World: FreudTuesday, 5th July 2016 23:00 - BBC Four
The Big C & Me: Episode 3Available until Saturday, 30th July 2016 03:10In the final episode of The Big C & Me we follow three people who face life or death with severe or terminal... Read more: The Big C & Me: Episode 3
Old School With The Hairy Bikers: EPISODE 1Available until Saturday, 30th July 2016 02:10
Thinking Allowed 2016: Good neighbours, The connection between sport and domestic abuseAvailable for over a year
All in the Mind - Summer 2016: All in the Mind Awards Ceremony from the Wellcome Collection in LondonAvailable for over a year
OpenLearn Live: 30th June 2016The actor who couldn't turn cinematic gold into political success; views of Trumpton from... Watch now: OpenLearn Live: 30th June 2016
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Can renewable energy power the world?Renewable energy sources are gaining an increasing share of world energy supplies. In the next... Try: Can renewable energy power the world? now
An introduction to music theoryGain an understanding of the basic building blocks of musical theory and notation. This free... Try: An introduction to music theory now
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.
- 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!
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
What is poetry?
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.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Literature courses or view the range of currently available OU Literature courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 27th January 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 27th January 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (858 KB)
- PDF (1.6 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (3.7 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (613 KB)
- Kindle (318 KB)
- RSS (276 KB)
- HTML (3.8 MB)
- SCORM (3.8 MB)
- OUXML Package (38 KB)
- OUXML File (113 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
- Moodle backup (4.7 MB)
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.