|New Wine in Old Skins|
with Tom Burton [eds]
Universe Publication: 2011
The poems in this anthology are a selection of those written as verse exercises for a course entitled ‘Reading and Writing Poetry’, offered by the English Discipline at the University of Adelaide. The course looked at poems in traditional metres, and considered poems from many different periods (from the sixteenth century to the present), in a wide variety of traditional forms (ballad, lyric, sonnet, epic, narrative, ode, dramatic monologue, etc.), using a range of different types of versification (blank verse, common measure, heroic couplets, and so on). Like the set reader, Bernard Blackstone’s Practical English Prosody: A Handbook for Students (Longmans, 1965), the course was ‘intended to help students of English poetry to understand what we may call the “mechanics”of verse. It is not intended to turn anyone into a poet‘ (ix).
Nevertheless, on the principle that the best way to learn is by doing, students taking the course were required to submit for assessment a number of pieces of verse composed in a range of the different types of metre studied. As teachers in the course we hoped only for the development of competence in verse technique, but ended up delighted by the high quality of some of the verse produced for the exercises. The best of these are gathered in this anthology, with a brief statement of the metre below the title of each poem.