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Poetry: How to Read and Analyse Poetry

4. Form 2: External Baggage

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the association of certain poetic forms with particular subjects (the ‘external baggage’ of a poetic form) and the opportunities this presents to poets—the idea that limericks have to be funny, for example, or that sonnets have to be about love.

In particular, we think about the ways poets can engage with (and potentially subvert) the expectations of poetic form—and we focus on a number of sonnets that are pointedly not about love, including Edwin Morgan’s ‘Glasgow Sonnets’ and Yeats’ ‘Leda and the Swan’.


Poetry Credits:

Edwin Morgan, ‘Glasgow Sonnets’ from From Glasgow to Saturn (Cheadle: Carcanet Press, 1973)

W. B. Yeats, 'Leda and the Swan', from The Tower (London: Macmillan, 1928)

Course

In this course, Professor John Lennard talks through the craft of poetry in a course that draws on his international bestseller, The Poetry Handbook, which has been a favourite with both sixth-form students and undergraduates since its first publication in 1996. As we move through the course, we look at every technical aspect of poetry, including metre, form, layout, lineation, rhyme, diction, syntax, before thinking about how much readers of poetry should draw on historical and biographical context when analysing and interpreting poetry.

Throughout the course, technical discussion of poetry is richly illustrated with examples from some of the greatest poets in the English language, including: William Shakespeare, George Herbert, John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Wilfred Owen, W. B. Yeats, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, and Derek Walcott.

Lecturer

Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Poetry: How to Read and Analyse Poetry - Form 2: External Baggage [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/poetry-how-to-read-and-analyse-poetry/form-2-external-baggage

MLA style

Lennard, John. "Poetry: How to Read and Analyse Poetry – Form 2: External Baggage." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/poetry-how-to-read-and-analyse-poetry/form-2-external-baggage