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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5100M The Long Poem: Self, Land, Witness

30 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr Kimberly Campanello

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications


Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The long poem has been a feature of modern and contemporary poetic practice, with modernist poets taking up or subverting early epic models and contemporary poets continuing to develop the long poem’s formal and thematic possibilities in a range of directions with particular emphasis on an expanded lyricism, counternarrative, found and docupoetics, visual and sound poetics, and intermedia practices. Sometimes all or many of these methods are present in the same long poem. Critics and poets have noted a recent uptick in the book-length poem or long poem, with some suggesting long poems are ‘projects’ that allow for ‘ambition’, ‘imperfect[ion]’, the development of an idea over time, and even the ability to ‘change [the reader’s or the poet’s] mind’ about a subject, often urgently political. We will aim to understand the persistence and diversity of the long poem as practiced today and in the recent past and identify what this mode of poetic practice offers readers and poets as it unfolds its themes and techniques in long form.


We will examine a diverse range of key examples of the modernist and contemporary long poem with particular emphasis on texts that address issues of identity, origins and the ‘self’ (the ‘tribe’ of the long poem); environment (the ‘land’ of the long poem); and witness (the ‘redress’ of the long poem). We will critically locate these poems in their literary and socio-political contexts, and we will get ‘inside’ this poetic mode via critical analysis and creative practice. In seminars and through private study, students will be equipped both to produce their own long poems using a range of techniques and to write critically on long poems, with the option to submit either creative or critical writing for summative assessment.

Learning outcomes
1. To explore the range of thematic orientations of modernist and contemporary long poems, especially regarding themes of self, witness and environment
2. To be able to locate long poems in their relevant literary, historical and socio-political contexts
3. To understand the range of formal approaches undertaken in long poems (including ‘epic’, expanded ‘lyric’, ‘(counter)narrative’, ‘experimental’ and ‘documentary’) from both a critic’s and a practitioner’s perspective
4. To develop creative and critical writing by placing both modes in productive dialogue

Skills outcomes
Masters (Taught), Postgraduate Diploma & Postgraduate Certificate students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the modules specified for the programme:

- the skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity;

- evaluating their own achievement and that of others;

- self direction and effective decision making;

- independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;

- to engage critically in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms


We will examine several key examples of long poems (with particular emphasis on contemporary texts), as well as relevant secondary literature, including critical and practice-led creative perspectives. Sessions will also be devoted to giving and receiving peer and tutor feedback on unassessed drafts of students’ own long poems in line with approaches used in ‘the Creative Writing workshop’.

Priority for places on this module will be given to students on the MA Creative Writing & Critical Life programme, but all School of English MA students are very welcome.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

• Reading of course texts and critical literature in preparation for weekly seminars (130 hours)
• Drafting of own long poem for submission to the seminars for feedback (formative assessment) (50 hours)
• Reviewing peers’ drafts and preparation of feedback (20 hours)
• Researching and developing familiarity with the theoretical texts, concepts, and techniques necessary to write creatively or critically for the summative assessment (80 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

One unassessed presentation and two short extracts of a long-poem-in-progress submitted for peer and tutor feedback

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentEssay OR Portfolio - Chosen by Student100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Student will choose EITHER an Essay or Portfolio to make up 100% of their assessment. Essay - Assessed essay of 4,000 words examining a significant published long poem (or set of long poems) that includes an account of how the critical analysis is informed by practice-led insights following the student’s formative creative practice of drafting a long poem Portfolio - A portfolio to include: 1. Extracts from or a complete long poem equivalent to 3,000 words (e.g., 150 lines, 3000 words if prose poetry, or equivalent in pages or other methods of delivery if visual/sound/intermedia poetry) 2. A contextualising note of 1,000 words that locates the poem in its literary and other contexts drawing upon relevant literary, critical and practice-led material

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/08/2023 12:47:51


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