course hack

How to Read a Poem

University of York, Flora Sagers, Helen Smith, Alexandra Kingston-Reese

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

In this course, the University of York faculty will guide you through the basics of reading and understanding poetry and the poetic tradition.


How to Read a Poem

How to Read a Poem

by University of York


In many cultures, poetry is a part of everyday life. And while you may not often think of poetry being part of your day-to-day existence, it appears every time you have a song lyric stuck in your head or a rhyme you just can't forget.

Poetry takes such a plethora of forms and references such a deep body of work that our preconceived notions of it normally fall short. Fortunately, this course will help you break down exactly how to get the most out of reading a poem.

Flora Sagers, Helen Smith, and Alexandra Kingston-Reese are faculty in the Department of English at the University of York. With the help of poets and fellow academics, How to Read a Poem illuminates the hidden meanings of one of the world's oldest literary traditions.

Favorite quote

There is no single correct way to read a line of poetry. What you hear on one occasion may sound different on another: you may notice a new emphasis ... or you may now spot how the line echoes another poem or literary work.

- Dr. Kenneth Clarke, senior lecturer, University of York

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