English (ENGL) 380

Writing Poetry (Revision 1)

ENGL 380 Coruse Cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211, ENGL 212, ENGL 353, and permission of the professor.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

English Studies Home Page

ENGL 380 is not available for challenge.

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English 380: Writing Poetry focuses on expanding poetic technique through guided practice, close reading, regular use of a writer’s notebook, constructive interaction with peers, and informed instructor responses. With attention to weekly writing, reading, and revision, the course promotes learning to think and work like a poet. Students will find copious references to what various poets say about poetry and its creation, as well as engage in challenging technical examination of specific works. Balancing attention to the essential “small details” of the art, the course also opens up awareness of pertinent historical and cultural questions that enter into the discipline.

From initial groundwork exercises, including listening and reading activities, students build toward a final portfolio of carefully revised poems that explore various traditional and contemporary forms and approaches. Reminders throughout the course encourage openness to the pleasures of poetry, to letting go and trying new things. At the same time, without pushing unrealistically, the course aspires to help generate purposeful effort that is or will become worthy of publication. Increasing command of form and technique is pursued in a manner designed to nurture meaningful personal voice, style, and vision.


  • Unit 1—Practising Basics: Sound, Image, Form, and Sense
  • Unit 2—Adapting Traditional Forms
  • Unit 3—Working with Free Verse and Experimentation
  • Unit 4—Revision


To receive credit for ENGL 380, you must complete six assignments and receive an overall course grade of D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 Pass/Fail
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 20%
Assignment 4 25%
Assignment 5 15%
Assignment 6 30%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Braid, Kate, and Sandy Shreve, editors. In Fine Form: A Contemporary Look at Canadian Form Poetry. 2nd ed., Caitlin Press, 2016.

Clark, Kevin. The Mind’s Eye: A Guide to Writing Poetry. Pearson, 2008.

Ioannou, Susan. A Magical Clockwork: The Art of Writing the Poem. Wordwrights Canada, 2000.

Kinzie, Mary. A Poet’s Guide to Poetry. 2nd. ed., UCP, 2013.

Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook. Mariner Books, 1994.

Other Materials

All other materials for the course are available online through the English 380 home page. These include an ENGL 380 Course Information and an ENGL 380 Study Guide.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 29, 2018.