Creative Writing 1: The Art of Poetry

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


The course aims to help you write poetry with an increasing understanding of poetic techniques and traditions. It provides you with the elements of a critical vocabulary, and helps towards a flexible and informed use of language.

The first part of the course discusses essential elements of poetry, with examples, and considers what’s involved in writing poems: what you need to think about, study and do.

The second part of the course aims to direct activity more specifically and lead to the production of a body of poems via project-based work that encourages the development of the relevant skills. While there is much freedom to follow personal inclination in the content of assignments, you are encouraged to focus in each on different aspects of poetic craft.

Throughout the course, you will increase your awareness of the formal requirements and on-going practice of poetry whilst developing informed and appropriate critical models, of your own and others’ writing. Additionally you will develop skills in drafting, editing, and presenting creative work and in responding to constructive suggestions/criticism. You will reflect on the process of writing and critically appraise your own work by writing reflective commentaries throughout the course and at the end of it.


The course aims to:

  • A1 Develop your understanding of poetic techniques and traditions.
  • A2 Introduce the principles involved in drafting, editing, and presenting creative work and in responding to constructive suggestions/criticism.
  • A3 Develop your reflective skills


On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • LO1 Demonstrate awareness of the structure, form, limitations and specific strengths/problems of writing poetry.
  • LO2 Draft and edit self-generated texts, demonstrating discrimination and choice in the deployment of these skills in relation to form and technique.
  • LO3 Reflect on your own learning experience.

Course content

  • Getting started – gathering resources and learning to use the senses.
  • Reading and developing your ear – reading and listening to poetry; sound and rhythm.
  • Poetry form and content – types of traditional and free verse; gathering material (themes, images, impressions) for poems.
  • Language and construction – poetic language; simile and metaphor; drafting a poem.
  • Redrafting and editing – title, viewpoint, tense, cutting poems.

This course also includes a key text, included in the cost of the course: Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley

Unit Leader

Liz Cashdan

Unit Leader for Creative Writing 1: Art of Poetry

Liz Cashdan profile image

“I am a poet and have been writing and teaching for several years. I have published five poetry collections (two shared). The most recent is Things of Substance: New and Selected Poems (2013 Five Leaves Publications)…”

Read the rest of Liz’s profile here