What is a Poem?

What is a Poem? (Core Course, Lesson #02) - 8th September 2022, 7-9pm GMT


You can’t write a poem without a clear idea of what a poem is, but the question ‘what is a poem?’ is a tough one to answer, and there are some who would rather not answer it at all. This class begins to answer that big question.


What is a Poem? is a perfect starting point for beginners, but it also provides some useful perspective for more experienced poets. This class makes an excellent follow-up to Harsh Advice for Poets but is also a very informative standalone session.


What will happen in this class:


  • A long lecture giving a (very condensed!) history of the poem in English, covering: key points in the development of Anglophone poetry, how these altered the sense of what a poem is, and some conclusions about how we might then define a poem today.
  • An exercise putting into practice the differences between poetry and prose.


When you register for an online class you will be added to the list of registrants. Classes take place live on Zoom; the day before your class you will be sent a link to your registered Zoom meeting, which you can follow to join the class. Remember to check your Junk folder.


All Zoom sessions will be recorded. After a class or workshop, registrants will be emailed a link to the recording. If you are unable to attend a session for which you have registered, you will still be able to watch the recorded session at your convenience.

What is a Poem?