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Second assessed essay


Your essay should ideally focus on specific poems to illustrate the argument you plan to develop. You are welcome to work on only one poet, but you are advised not to write on any more than three poets. Questions referring to specific poets can be answered in relation to any poet/s on the module.

Please see my guide to essay writing here (PDF Document)


1. OPEN QUESTION: you are welcome to develop a title of your own; please confirm with me by the end of week 10, term 2.

2. Martha Nussbaum argues that erotic love has "typically been seen by ethical thinkers as a danger". Discuss.

3. Does poetry have an atmosphere'?

4. Is the writing of elegy a testament or exploitation of the dead?

5. To what extent does Robert Frost’s distinction between "ear writers" and "eye readers" help to define the listening experience of poetry?

6. A. R. Ammons describes the poem as a "walk". Write an essay on the poem as an embodiment of emotion and/or the physical.

7. Do poems give too much away? Write an essay on confessional poetry and its presentation of emotion.

8. Poets like Bukowski and Myles are associated with a poetry of rage. How successful is the poem as a holder of emotions like rage or anger?

9. ‘In the seventeenth century a dissociation of sensibility set in, from which we have never recovered’ (T. S. Eliot). Discuss.

10. In her poem about birdsong, Jennifer Moxley writes of "the wasted strains of an underground song". To what extent does poetry of the last twenty years challenge how the reader thinks about nature and non-human beings?

11. Write an essay on the poem's potential as an expression of protest.

12. Is modern poetry's fascination with religions like Hinduism and Buddhism recreant or celebratory?