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Reading list

Introductory texts 

'Reading for Form', Modern Language Quarterly, 61.1 (2000): special issue on form

‘The New Lyric Studies’, 123.1, PMLA (2008): special issue on 'neoformalism'

'Thinking Poetry', Textual Practice, 24.4 (2010): special issue on poetry

Thinking Verse: online journal dedicated to poetry and poetic thinking with a starry editorial board

Cook, Jon, ed., Poetry in Theory: an Anthology 1900-2000 (2004)

Harmon, William, Classic Writings on Poetry (2003)

Herbert, W. N. & Hollis, Matthew, Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (2000)

Preminger, Alex, ed., The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993)

Rhian Williams, The Poetry Toolkit: The Essential Guide to Studying Poetry (2009)

Further Reading, Aesthetics, Genre

Isobel Armstrong, The Radical Aesthetic (2000)

Alain Badiou, Handbook of Inaesthetics (2005)

Marjorie Perloff, Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy (2007)

Michel Serres, The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies (2009)


Historical Poetics (by period)

Blake, William, 'Letters' in Romantic Criticism, 1800-1825, ed. Peter Kitson (1989) [Course Extracts]

Coleridge, S T, Chapters from Biographia Literaria in English Literary Criticism, ed. D G Hoffman (1966) [Course Extracts]

Keats, John, 'Passages from the Letters, 1817-19' in Romantic Criticism, 1800-1850, ed. R A Foakes (1968) [Course Extracts]

Keble, John, Extract from Lectures on Poetry, 1832-42 in Romantic Criticism, 1795-1821, ed. R A Foakes (1968)

Mill, J S, Autobiography and Literary Essays (1981), pp. 148-63 [on the impact of Wordsworth]

Mill, J S, 'Thoughts on Poetry and its Varieties', in his Autobiography and Literary Essays (1981) [Course Extracts]

Arnold, Matthew, 'Author's Preface', The Poems of Matthew Arnold (1853) [Internet]

Arnold, Matthew, 'Sweetness and Light', in English Literary Criticism, ed. D G Hoffman (1966)

Whitman, Walt, extract from 'Preface to Leaves of Grass' (1855) [Poetry Foundation Website: Essay in Poetic Theory]

Brooks, Cleanth, 'The Heresy of Paraphrase' in his The Well Wrought Urn (1968) [Course Extracts]

Eliot, T S, 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' in his Essays: Selections (1999) [Course Extracts]

Crane, Hart, 'General Aims and Theories' in The Poet's Work, ed. Reginald Gibbons (1979)

Williams, W C, Selected Essays (1969)

Wimsatt, W K, 'The Intentional Fallacy' in his The Verbal Icon (1954) [Course Extracts]

Stein, Gertrude, 'Poetry and Grammar' in Poetry in Theory, ed. Jon Cook (2004)

Zukofsky, Louis, Prepositions: Collected Critical Essays (1981)

Creeley, Robert, 'A Sense of Measure', in Poetry in Theory, ed. Jon Cook (2004)

Perloff, Marjorie, 'After Language Poetry' in her Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy (2007)

Notley, Alice, 'The Poetics of Disobedience ' [Poetry Foundation Website: Essay on Poetic Theory]

Forrest-Thomson, Veronica, 'Continuity in Language', in Poetry in Theory, ed. Jon Cook (2004)

Rumsey, Lacy, 'The Obstinate Reader: Prynne, Prosody and Degrees of Engagement', Thinking Verse, 1 (2011) [Internet]

Davie, Donald, 'What is Modern Poetry?' in his Articulate Energy (1976)

Heaney, Seamus, 'Feelings into Words', in The Poet's Work, ed. Reginald Gibbons (1979)

Hill, Geoffrey, 'Poetry as "Menace" and "Atonement"', in Poetry in Theory, ed. Jon Cook (2004)

Ginsberg, Allen, 'Literary Technique and the Beat Generation', in his Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays, 1959-95 (2000) [Course Extracts]

Sound, Prosody, Rhythm and Thought

Theodor Adorno, Essays on Music (2002)

Bernstein, J M, 'Poesy and the Arbitrariness of the Sign', in Philosophical Romanticism, ed. N Kompridis (2006)

Bishop, Elizabeth, ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins: Notes on Timing in His Poetry’ (in her Poems, Prose, and Letters, 2008)

Bogan, Louise, 'The Pleasures of Formal Poetry', in The Poet's Vision, ed. Reginald Gibbons (1979)

Connor, Steven, 'Thinking Things', Textual Practice, 24,1 (2010)

Dayan, Peter, 'Ponge's Music', in his Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art (2011)

Frost, Robert, 'On "The Sound of Sense" and on "Sentence Sounds"', [Internet]

Frost, Robert, 'The Figure a Poem Makes', [Internet]

Groves, Peter L, 'Meter', in A Companion to Poetic Genre, ed. Erik Martiny (2012)

Hall, Jason David, ed., Meter Matters: Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century (2011)

Holder, Alan, Rethinking Meter: A New Approach to the Verse Line (1995)

Jarvis, Simon, 'Why Rhyme Pleases', Thinking Verse, 1 (2011), 17-23 [Internet]

Jarvis, Simon, 'The Melodics of Long Poems', Textual Practice, 24,4 (2010)

Jarvis, Simon, 'Wordsworth's Late Melodics', in Wordsworth's Poetic Theory, ed. A. Regier [Course Extracts]

Jarvis, Simon, 'Prosody as Cognition', Critical Quarterly, 40,4 (1998)

Jarvis, Simon,'The Truth in Verse? Adorno, Wordsworth, Prosody', in Adorno and Literature, eds. D Cunningham and N Mapp (2006) [Course Extracts]

Kertzer, Jerome, Poetic Argument (1988)

Lefebvre, Henri, Rhythmanalysis (2004)

Nancy, Jean Luc, Listening (2007)

Patmore, Coventry, 'Essay on English Metrical Law' in his Amelia (1878) (via Google Books)


Perloff, Marjorie, The Sound of Poetry, the Poetry of Sound (2009)

Prynne, J H, 'Music and Musical Experience (Hearing and Listening)' in his Field Notes: The Solitary Reaper (2007) [Course Extracts]

Prynne, J H, Mental Ears and Poetic Work', Chicago Review, 55,1 (2010)

Prynne, J H, 'Poetic Thought', Textual Practice, 24,4 (2010)

Russolo, Luigi, 'The Art of Noises' (1913) [internet]

Steiner, George, 'Sections 8-9 (Untitled)' in his The Poetry of Thought (2011), pp. 193-217

Thompson, John, The Founding of English Meter (1961)

Tiffany, Daniel, 'Introduction: Lyric Substance and Social Being', in his Infidel Poetics (2009)

Vendler, Helen, 'W B Yeats Thinking' in her Poets Thinking (2004)

Weliver, Phyllis, The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry (2005)

Wesling, Donald, The Chances of Rhyme (1980)

Wimsatt, W K, 'One Relation of Rhyme to Reason', in his The Verbal Icon (1954)


Prose Poetry and Free Verse

Caws, Mary Ann, The Prose Poem in France (1983)

Fredman, Stephen, 'Introduction' in his Poet's Prose: the Crisis in American Verse (1983) [Course Extracts]

Kittay, Jeffray, The Emergence of Prose (1987)

Lemardeley, Marie-Christine, 'Gists and Piths: the Free-Verse Revolution in Contemporary American Poetry', in Companion to Poetic Genre, ed. Erik Martiny (2012)

Monroe, Jonathan, A Poverty of Objects: the Prose Poem and the Politics of Genre (1987)

Nowell-Smith, David, 'The Poetry-Verse Distinction Reconsidered', Thinking Verse 1 (2011), 137-60

Scott, Clive, 'Free verse and the Translation of Rhythm', Thinking Verse 1 (2011), 67-101

Simon, John, The Prose Poem as a Genre in Nineteenth Century Literature (1987)

Williams, W C, Kora in Hell [internet]

Williams, W C, 'Preface to Kora in Hell' in his Selected Essays [Course Extracts]

Theories of Poetry ( Envonmental, Ethical, Political, Theological)

How2: Ecopoetics Issue [Internet]

Nichols, Ashton, 'Prologue', in his Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism (2011)

Buell, Lawrence, 'The Place of Place', in his Writing for an Endangered World (2001)

Kinsella,John, Disclosed Poetics (2007)

Morton, Timothy, 'John Clare's Dark Ecology', Studies in Romanticism, 47 (2008), 179-93

'Ecopoetics and Pedagogies', Angelaki 14, 2 (See essays by Matthew Cooperman and Jonathan Skinner)

Rigby, Kate, 'Ecstatic Dwelling: Perspectives on Place in European Romanticism', Angelaki, 9, 2 (2004)

Sears, John, 'The Horizon of the Poem: on Matthew Cooperman and Ecopoetics', Etudes Anglaises, 65, 2 (2012)

'Special Issue on Sustainability', PMLA, 127, 3 (2012) (See essays by Alaimo, Mentz and Keller)

Blasing, Mutlu Konuk, Lyric Poetry: The Pain and Pleasure of Words ( 2007)

Heidegger, Martin, Poetry, Language, Thought (2001)

Adorno, Theodor, Notes to Literature, 1-2 (1991)

Hughes, Langston, How to be a Bad Writer (2000)

Oppen, George, Selected Prose (2007)

Wilkinson, John, The Lyric Touch (2007)

Heller,Michael, Uncertain Poetries: Selected Essays on Poetry, Poets and Poetics (2005)

Lopez, Tony, (ed), Poetry and Public Language (2007)

Izenberg,Oren, Being Numerous: Poetry and the Ground of Social Life (2011)

Milbank,John, The Legend of Death (2008)