Singapore University of Social Sciences

Modern Poetry

Modern Poetry (ELT377)


This course offers a critical introduction to the concepts, key terms and debates that feature as a part of studying modern poetry as well as exploring the cultural and historical contexts in which such verse is situated. This course considers what constitutes “modern” poetry by examining poets and poetic movements in the twentieth century. Beginning by proposing some of the key features of modern poetry, the course subsequently examines the poetry of the First World War, followed by an interrogation of how Modernists Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot developed their unique artistic and cultural positions. An examination of Ted Hughes’s verse is undertaken to see how the ancient tradition of nature poetry is revitalised for the twentieth century. In the final unit, consideration is given to the rise to prominence of women’s poetry by examining a range of prominent women poets. The course concludes by attending to recent trends in modern poetry.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Study Unit 1, Chapter 1: Introducing Modern Poetry
  • Study Unit 1, Chapter 2: Poetry of the First World War (1914-1918)
  • Study Unit 2, Chapter 1: Modernism
  • Study Unit 2, Chapter 2: Ted Hughes’s Poetry of Nature
  • Study Unit 3, Chapter 1: Women’s Poetry
  • Study Unit 3, Chapter 2: Recent Trends

Learning Outcome

  • Show, through careful examination of poems, the characteristic literary styles and thematic concerns of Modern Poetry from the First World War until the present day. (B3)
  • Demonstrate how poets and literary movements represent their “modern” perspectives in their peculiar way. (B3)
  • Analyse the use of literary techniques such as diction, imagery, tone, and structure in Modern Poetry. (B4)
  • Formulate a critical overview of the contemporary relevance of the thematic preoccupations and tactics of Modern Poetry. (B5)
  • Examine the use of various stylistic aspects and the treatment of issues in Modern Poetry through comparison and contrast of poems.
  • Compose structured academic essays that employ the appropriate skills in scholarly research, critical evaluation, and proper citation.
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