Poetry 101: Great, Good, Bad and Terrible

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Duration 01:06:26

University of Roehampton

Fiona Sampson MBE is Professor Emerita of Poetry at the University of Roehampton, London. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the English Association and the Wordsworth Trust, Professor Sampson has served on the Council for the Royal Society of Literature and is Trustee of the Royal Literary Fund. As a poet, she is published in thirty-eight languages and has received numerous national and international honors. Editor of Poetry Review 2005-12, she is the author of the internationally acclaimed biographies In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a New York Times Editor’s Choice and Washington Post Book of the Year.




What’s so special about poetry? In school we learned that this was difficult stuff, which required a whole system of knowledge to understand it. Stumbled across in adult life, it can seem old-fashioned and elitist, or even willfully difficult. After all, what can a poem offer that a song lyric doesn’t? In this seminar, Professor Fiona Sampson, who is one of the UK’s leading poets as well as a scholar, will help sweep away such bad experiences and preconceptions. We will walk through examples of poems that are great, good, bad, and terrible – and that have mostly been written by poets who are alive today – in order to demystify the art of poetry.

Recommended Reading:

Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar, Eds.

Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500 – 2001, by Carolyn Forché and Duncan Wu, Eds.

The Poets Laureate Anthology, by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt, Ed.




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Lyn Rosen

The good, the bad and the ugly

I did appreciate Dr. Sampson’s gamut of poetry from the really awful to the sublime, along with the explanations she gave. Very interesting and she made me want to delve into more. Thank you!

1 year ago
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