Spring 2022 - ENGL 234 D100

Metrics and Prosody (3)

Class Number: 4732

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    BLU 10011, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100 division English course.



A study of different historical methods of measuring poetry in English, with practice in scanning and analyzing poems using different methods of quantitative analysis (e.g. Syllabic, rhythmic, alliterative). Students with credit for ENGL 212 may not take this course for further credit. Quantitative.


Taking the Measure of Poetry
Does analyzing poetry scare you? Do you feel shaky in the knees when you hear the words “anapestic tetrameter”? Let this course change your fear to confidence! It will introduce students to scansion (a system of representing rhythmic patterns in English poetry) and the analysis of scanned lines in different kinds of verse, focusing on the accentual-syllabic meter primarily in use from 1550 to 1900 CE. We will explore other traditional meters such as syllabic and accentual meters, as well as contemporary experiments in metrics. Students will apply scansion and metrical analysis to a variety of poems from many periods in English literature, linking metrics to other poetic elements such as verse form, sound patterns, and syntax. We will engage in a variety of in-class practice analyses which will prepare students for a more extensive analysis in the essay assignment. In-class and out-of-class creative writing assignments will allow students to put their knowledge of metrics into poetic practice.
Note: This course is accredited as Quantitative Analysis (Q) and its intent is to give English Majors and Minors a practical grounding in poetic analysis which will assist them in 300- and 400-level poetry courses. Skill in Mathematics is not a requirement.


Educational Goals for this course reflect the Q criteria

Q criteria Goals for Engl 212: by the end of the semester, students will be able to…
deepening understanding and appreciation of quantitative and formal reasoning reduce their fear of quantitative and formal reasoning, have a sense of confidence and mastery
learning systems of abstract representation use scansion to analyse accentual-syllabic poetry, and recognize, describe, and analyse poems which use other metrical systems
using model building and problem solving, both in class and in course assignments solve puzzles presented by poems in unidentified meters; relate meter & rhythm to verse form and poetic content
seeing creative potential of quantitative and formal reasoning use knowledge of metrical systems and scansion to create and revise their own poetry
engaging more effectively with the subject matter of the programs and practical everyday situations use scansion to gather evidence in essays they write in other English courses; have a deeper understanding of poetics in English


 other Educational Goals: at the end of this course, students will have

  • read and discussed a wide variety of poems from different centuries and cultures
  • challenged their assumptions about what kinds of poetry are valuable/effective
  • supported and assisted in each other’s learning
  • reflected on their own learning   
  • enjoyed themselves more than they thought they would


  • • Essay (c. 2000 words), using metrical analysis supporting discussion of a poem 35%
  • • Two in-class tests, 2 x 15% 30%
  • • Creative writing portfolio 20%
  • • Participation 15%


Details on the course requirements will be in a Canvas content module.



I have asked the SFU Bookstore to order physical texts. You're also welcome to source them new or used from (online) book stores. 


David Caplan, Poetic Form: An Introduction (Pearson Longman, 2007)

ISBN: 0321198204

Stephen Adams, Poetic Designs: An Introduction to Meters, Verse Forms, and Figures of Speech (Broadview, 1997)

ISBN: 1551111292

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.