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Course CodeBWR109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Write Great Poetry by Distance Education

  • Learn the techniques
  • Improve your skills under guidance from experienced, published professional writers
  • Pursue your passion and explore possibilities for becoming a published poet
  • Engage your readers, learning to expose emotion through the written word

Whatever you write has sound. People hear your words in their heads, and so the sounds you create can draw people's attention to your message. Poets use a range of musical and figurative devices to achieve their effects. Some of these effects relate to the rhythm and metre of the words. The study of rhythm, stress, and pitch in speech is called prosody. In poetry, the meter (or metre) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse.

WRITING STUDENT'S COMMENT - "I found the course to be extremely helpful. It has given me the confidence and skills to present my work to publishers."   - Dilys

Learn about the different types of poetry and develop your skills to both understand and write poetry, through this course.

Follow your passion and find the poet within.   Develop your ability to write and understand the different types of poetry.


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Nature and Scope of Poetry
    • Brief description of the many different types of poetry
    • Poetic Devices (Rhyme, Assonance, Alliteration, Personification, Onomatopoeia, Imagery, Symbolism, Simile, Metaphor)
    • Styles that tell a Story (Monody, Ballad, Epitaph)
    • Classic Styles (Sonnet, Ode, Haiku)
    • Monorhyme
    • Trick Poems (Limerick, Tongue Twister, Shape Poem, Palindrome)
    • Styles classified according to Arrangement of Lines (Quatrain Style, Pantoum, Free Verse, Villanelle, Clerihew, Damante, Acrostic Style)
    • Keeping a Notebook
    • Editing
    • Terminology.
  2. The Work of Other Poets
    • Shakespeare
    • Kendall
    • Betjemen
    • Angelou
    • Shelley
    • Dickinson
    • Edgar Allen Poe
  3. Encouraging your creativity.
    • Exploring Creativity
    • Understanding your own Creativity
  4. Developing different styles of poetry ... Some Classic Styles
    • Ode
    • Sonnet
    • Italian Sonnet
    • Haiku
    • Writing Haiku
  5. Developing different styles of poetry ... Following the Rules
    • Quatrain
    • Pantoum
    • Acrostic
    • 21st Century Visual Poetry
  6. Developing different styles of poetry ...Poetry for Story Telling
    • Developing a Story in Poetry
    • Planning a Story
    • Developing Your Voice
    • Ambience
    • Ending a Story
    • Epitaph Style
    • Monody
  7. Developing different styles of poetry ... Styles for Fun and Trickery
    • Funny Poems
    • Tongue Twisters
    • Limericks
  8. Getting your work published
    • Creative Writing Resources
    • Other Industry Resources
    • How and Where to Get Published
    • Self Publishing
    • Vanity Publishing
  9. The next phase ... how to continue to improve

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Where is Poetry Used?

For some, poetry is a passion, while for others it can be a vocation.

Poetry is sometimes published in books (a collection of poems), but more often on greeting cards, on web sites or in periodicals (newspapers, magazines etc). Some greeting card companies will invite submissions of poems, and publish those that are appropriate.

Poetry can fire the imagination in ways that other writing might not. It is used in music and advertising, in children's books and story telling; and much much more.


You will discover there are many online poetry communities already out there.

You can also create your own blog or web page using standard software solutions and publish the work yourself.

Often the hardest thing is to get a start. To this end, we do try to assist our students in a number of ways.

  • We publish outstanding student work on our web site, newsletters or in an online student magazine.
  • A great place to network is the  ACS and Affiliates student room.  You can meet people who are studying the same course as you either from your school or other's around the globe.  You could arrange weekly chat sessions or conference calls online to discuss each others' work.  You could band together to self-publish a book of poems.  The opportunities are only limited to your imagination.  You could secretly deliver weekly poems to your neighbours letterboxes just for fun!  Just make it clear that it is a random offering to a stranger and not a declaration of love or hate or some crazy stalking tactic (and that the content is suitable).  You don’t want to be hauled down to the police station.
It's always useful to have your work read by people who can give you honest but constructive feedback.  This will happen with your tutors feedback as you study, but beyond that, you can seek feedback from any number of others. Ask them questions like:

How did it make you feel?

What do you think the poem was about?

Did anything stand out as being out of place or awkward?


Beyond these thought, poetry is used in places that many people do not always think about. Consider

  • Poems on wedding invitations
  • On gravestones
  • On posters, craftwork, and other such items
  • Writing a poem to your partner or spouse
  • On any special or momentous occasion; a poem can be appropriate; and a very much appreciated way of expressing your feelings.


What is Poetry?

Whatever you write has sound. People hear your words in their heads, and so the sounds you create can draw people's attention to your message. Poets use a range of musical and figurative devices to achieve their effects. Some of these effects relate to the rhythm and metre of the words. The study of rhythm, stress, and pitch in speech is called prosody. In poetry, the meter (or metre) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse. Some of these different devices include:

Rhyme: This is the poetic device that most people are familiar with. It involves the repetition of the final sound of word from a stressed syllable onwards. It is usually found at the end of a line in a poem, but not always. Sometimes poems will include internal rhymes. A good example of this is found in Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea

Assonance: Involves the echoing of vowel sounds. For example: on a proud round cloud in white high night (E.E. Cummings - if a Cheer Rules Elephant Angel Child Should Sit)

Alliteration: This is the echo of the consonantal sounds in several words placed together. An example is: Slippery, slithery snakes.

Personification: This term means we give something that isn’t really alive the qualities of being alive. We use words to bring the subject alive by imbuing natural things or abstract ideas with human characteristics

Onomatopoeia: This poetic device involves matching sound to meaning. Onomatopoeia is a type of word that sounds like the thing it is describing. "Zip" is an example of onomatopoeia because it sounds like what it is. When you zip up a zipper, the sound the zipper makes sounds like a zipper. Other examples include: boom, sizzle, buzz etc.

Imagery: Poets need to create emotion with words, this creation is called imagery. They use figurative language, and/or the choice and order of words, and other devices to convey a visual image. The following is an example by Lilian Moore:

Until I saw the sea
I did not know
That wind
Could wrinkle water so

Symbolism: Symbols generally stand for abstractions and may be regarded as metaphors but with a less definite suggestiveness. For example: the sun is often used as the symbol for light and warmth; the winter for deathliness; red colours are used to denote passion or blood.

Simile: A simile is the comparison of two unlike things by saying one is like the other: "Love is like honey poured over life." When Robert Burns wrote "My love is like a red, red rose" he used a simile.

Metaphor: A metaphor is the comparison of two unlike things by saying one is the other. An example would be "love is honey poured over life." Love is not honey, but the comparison creates a mental image of sweetness added to life. When Robert Herrick wrote "You are a tulip" he used a metaphor.


Who can benefit from taking this course?

Anyone interested in writing poetry or poetry analysis.

Writers seeking to improve their prose, or develop a lyrical voice and/or tone.

Children's writers looking to better understand rhyming schemes and how to implement rigid or flexible structures in children's writing.

Writers looking to develop their creative process, or enhance their existing creative process.

People looking to engage in reflection, meditation, and healing through writing.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the idea behind different types and structures of poetry
  • Understand how to listen to self and engage in creative ideation and reflection
  • Understand how to draw inspiration from everyday events using techniques such as defamiliarisation
  • Begin to develop your individual voice
  • Discover more about who you are




Meet some of our academics

Rachel SyersRachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture. Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea. Rachel has a B.Journalism.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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