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Understanding the Relevance of Poetry

This free online poetry course enriches your understanding of verse through close study of its forms and functions.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online poetry course will demonstrate the importance of verse as a medium of higher expression. We will explore poetic devices and forms used to convey subtle meanings. In addition to close reading of specific works, you will acquire an appreciation of rhythm as a poem can be ‘musical’. The skills acquired in careful poetic reading carry over to one’s approach to any form of communication, from the workplace to the home.
Understanding the Relevance of Poetry
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation


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Poetry frees the mind to move beyond the constraints of ‘normal’ language. It is broadly considered to be a form of high art and this course establishes its importance in today’s world. We will delve into the elements that make up poetry, from voice to symbolism, in order to find its meaning and thus relevance. Beyond close reading, we will examine how verse can be affected by its wider literary and historical context. Appreciation of these elements will lead to an understanding of each poem as a whole.

This understanding leads us to study various poetic forms and functions, including odes, sonnets, epic poems and more, which use structure to tell different types of stories. We will also cover poetic devices used to emphasise meaning in each poem, such as metaphor and personification. This brings us to the ‘music’ of poetry, which is heard in its rhythm, rhyme and meter, as you learn how the pattern of syllables can audibly affect meaning.

The course pays close attention to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and his importance as an influence and source of inspiration for many early poets. We will go through the different stages of Chaucerian writing and focus on the prologue to his famous work, ‘The Canterbury Tales’. This will entail close reading of his use of the poetic devices you mastered earlier. This course is a great learning tool for anyone who works in the field of language or values the beauty of the written word. It helps writers and marketers to unlock the power of poetic language to reach and touch a wider audience.

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