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Poetry: How to Read a Poem

University of York via FutureLearn


Dive into the wonderful world of poetry and learn how to analyse a poem

Humans have communicated their thoughts, ideas, and feelings through poetry throughout history. At its best, it tells us new truths about the human experience. However, it’s often presented as hard to understand without expert knowledge.

On this course, you’ll build your confidence in reading and enjoying poetry.

Whether you’re a poetry fanatic or you’re eager to learn, you’ll learn tools for approaching the study of poetry, ways to express your appreciation of poetry, and ways to find new riches in your favourite poems.

This course will also give you guidance on developing your own poetic voice when writing verse.

This course is designed for poetry and literature lovers everywhere and anyone who wants to develop and expand their writing skills.

It is suitable for keen poetry readers as well as those just getting started on their journey.

The course will be especially useful for A-level (and equivalent) students who want to know what it’s like to study English at a university level.


  • Introductions and Foundations
    • Introductions
    • Favourite poems
    • Poetic tradition
    • Closing thoughts
  • Poetic Form
    • Introduction to Week Two
    • Reading with form
    • Poetry bootcamp
    • Poems on the page
    • Closing thoughts
  • Intertextuality
    • Introduction to Week Three
    • Literary conversations
    • Poetry in translation
    • Poetry and ekphrasis
    • Summing up
  • Writing (about) Poetry
    • Introduction to Week Four
    • How to write about poetry
    • Writers on poetry
    • Useful poetry
    • Creative exercise
    • Final thoughts

Taught by

Helen Smith


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 339 ratings

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