Writing Poetry (Online)


How can poetic form help me to turn the passion and intensity of life into memorable expressions? How can an appreciation of the techniques used by past and living poets help me to improve as a poet? Take this course and find out.

Poetry can seem like a members-only club. Even the names of poetic forms such as 'sonnet', 'villanelle', and 'sestina' can be as intimidating as the list of writers associated with them, from Shakespeare to Shelley to Sean O'Brien. This course is designed to demystify poetic composition, and to help students to gain the confidence to produce poems of their own. It introduces students to a wide range of poems and poetic techniques with the aim of enabling them to gain a deeper appreciation of how poetry works, an understanding of the forms best suited to the kind of statements that they are interested in making, and confidence in deploying such devices as metre, rhyme, figurative language. This course is for anyone who would like to start to write - or to write better - poetry.

This course emphasises weekly reading and writing exercises, peer feedback, and tutor guidance. Tutors prompt and moderate discussions that centre on group learning rather than workshopping personal pieces of writing. Both assessed assignments receive detailed feedback from the tutor.

For information on how the courses work, please click here.

Programme details

1. Rhyme, Rhythm and Metre
2. Figurative Language
3. Divisions
4. Blank Verse
5. Syllabic verse and free verse
6. Free Verse II
7. Lyric Poetry
8. The Sonnet
9. Pastoral
10. What More and What Next

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


Credit Application Transfer Scheme (CATS) points 

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £30 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £30 fee. 

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education, you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee. 


Digital credentials

All students who pass their final assignment, whether registered for credit or not, will be eligible for a digital Certificate of Completion. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Please note that assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail. 


Description Costs
Course Fee £635.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:


Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Simon Pomery

Dr Simon Pomery is a sonic artist, drummer, guitarist and poet. He has performed his poetry at Xing the Line; Ikletik; European Poetry Festival; Clinic; A Year in Literature Festival, Magdalen College, University of Cambridge; CB1; BroadCast; The Book Club Boutique; Modern Poetry Day, in honour of T.S. Eliot, at Naishe Priory, East Coker; Post-Projects, New Cross, with a “poster-poems‟ installation from my Steve Reich Variations; Camaradefest at Rich Mix; Interrobang at the Betsey Trotwood; Writers At Risk for the Enemies Project and English Pen. In 2022 he founded the label/publisher/event series ‘Sonic Poetics’ in London: the name comes from his doctoral thesis which was completed in 2022: ‘Sonic Poetics: Sound and Listening in the Work of M. NourbeSe Philip and Sean Bonney’. His first pamphlet of poems , 'The Stream', was published in 2010 by tall-lighthouse. FLUF published his first collection of poetry, ‘FOUR PINTS OF GUINNESS FOR TONY CONRAD’, on Bloomsday in 2019., Popular Songs (Sonic Poetics) appeared in 2022. His poetry has been widely published in journals including The Times Literary Supplement, 3am Magazine, P.N. Review, and Sure Hope.



Course aims

This course aims to introduce participants to a wide variety of poetic technique and form.

Teaching methods

  • guided reading;
  • guided writing tasks;
  • guided use of relevant websites;
  • use of tutor notes and handouts;
  • close critical analyses of selected extracts from the texts studied and participants own writing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course participants will be expected to understand:

  • a wide range of verse forms and structures;
  • notable examples of poetic forms from the history of literature in English;
  • the relative advantages and challenges of one verse form over another;
  • which forms and techniques are best suited to one's own emerging voice.

By the end of this course participants will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • competence and confidence in writing in a wide range of verse forms;
  • an ability to recognise and experiment with different poetic structures and techniques;
  • an ability to articulate their intentions and achievement in engaging with poetic form.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. Assignment 1 is up to 500 words about a drafted poem, as well as the drafted poem.  This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work due at the end of the course. Your assessed work, Assignment 2, is more drafts of that same first poem as well as 3 other poems, no fewer than 10 and no more than 45 lines. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/english-language-requirements


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.