You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Poetry: How to Read and Analyse Poetry

6. Lineation

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the importance of line-endings and lineation in poetry. In particular, we think about the impact of end-stopped lines versus enjambment, of isometric versus heterometric lines, and of bob-lines and prong-lines.

Poetry credits:

John Donne, 'The Flea', ll. 1-4, from Poems by J. D. With elegies on the authors death. (London: printed by M.F. for I. Marriot, 1633)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 'Tithonus', ll. 1-6, from Enoch Arden (London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1864)

John Donne, 'Song', ll. 23-7, from Poems by J. D. With elegies on the authors death. (London: printed by M.F. for I. Marriot, 1633)


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.


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 - Lineation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Poetry: How to Read and Analyse Poetry – Lineation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,