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First assessed essay

You are free to choose one of the following questions or devise your own question. Your essays should produce focused readings of specific poems. You are advised to discuss between two and six poems, depending on their length (and with the expectation that you will have read widely before choosing your focus poems). In exceptional circumstances, you may focus on one poem as long as you agree it with the tutor first. Do not flood your essay with lots of brief discussions of lots of poets and poems. In questions based on quotations by poets, you are not confined to the work of that poet in your answer.

1. Nineteenth-century poetry encourages to believe in the emotionally transformative effect of metrical composition. Discuss.

2. To what extent is 'feeling first' (cummings) in the writing and/or reading of poetry?

3. All poetry interrogates and ultimately undermines the conventional binary of emotion and rationality. Discuss.

4. Does it make sense to distinguish public from private emotion in reading poetry?

5. Poetry conveys emotion not in what it says but in what it does. Discuss.

6. Emotions are conditioned by time, just as our sense of time is conditioned by emotion. Discuss.

7. Can poetry be an expression of 'authentic' emotion, and if so, how can the reader recognize the 'authentic' from the 'artificial'?

8. To what extent does poetry push us to think, rather than feel, emotion?

9. Can all poetry be described, to some extent, as elegiac?

10. ‘Emotion is always social’ (Isobel Armstrong). Discuss.