Learn to recognise and appreciate the techniques that lie at the heart of modern English poetry.

Whether you want to read or write poetry, enhance your enjoyment by increasing your understanding of the poet's tools.

The course contains more than 20 lectures and over 2 hours of content. It is especially suited to novice poets and readers, as well as for writers of other genres who are interested in expanding their repertoire or in understanding their poetical colleagues.

For non-poets and for novice writers, modern poetry can seem very arbitrary: poor writers proclaim themselves poets and present us with chopped-up prose labelled as poetry. Unless we understand the poet's tools and techniques, we are powerless to discriminate between good and bad and recognise when we are being sold short.

This course aims to introduce some of the techniques used in modern English poetry and explain how they are used, leading to greater skill in writing and better appreciation when reading.


This section will introduce the students to the subject of poetry and to the specific areas we'll cover on the course, as well as previewing some of the poet's tools.


You'll learn about how we use stress in spoken English and how this relates to metre in poetry.


You'll discover how poetic forms are defined by patterns of stanza and line length, rhyme and metre and find out how ancient forms are still of relevance to contemporary poets.


You'll learn about the different types of rhyme - full, slant, masculine, feminine, internal and end rhyme - and begin to see how poets create and use patterns and irregularities.


You'll explore poetic layout, including line breaks and line length, and see how the poet uses layout in conjunction with grammar, lexis and punctuation to guide the reader.


You'll discover more about sound devices in English and find out how sound can be a powerful tool to bind a poem together.

Discover more about the course tutor, Gwyneth Box

In this 2016 video, Gwyneth talks about writing and inspiration, how translation fits into the picture and about her other projects.