The Poetry and Poets of the First World War with Paul Jarman

Ref: C2345526

The First World War generated an unprecedented amount of new poetry—more than any previous war in which Great Britain had been involved. Throughout the conflict, poetry was used for a variety of purposes, from recruitment to protest. While much of this poetry was written by those who were directly involved in the action, there was also a significant amount written by civilians back at home, including women. In this course we will explore a varied selection of poetry—some very familiar and some less so—written during WW1. Tackling different themes each week, we will take a small selection of poems and ask how they contribute to (or perhaps even distort) our understanding of the period. We will examine the lives of the poets whose work we are studying and place the poems alongside other material, such as letters, diaries and other personal reminiscences.

Course aim

To examine a selection of poems, largely written between 1914–18, to ask how their writers (men and women), whether directly involved in the action or not, used the medium of poetry to express their experiences of and attitudes towards the war.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • Anyone with an interest in poetry, WW1 or both. Anyone who, though you may not be regular readers of poetry, would like to discover what a powerful tool it was in the hands of men and women during the years 1914—18.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give examples of at least 3 pieces of WW1 poetry and/or 3 WW1 poets.
  • Explain how those poets used the medium of poetry to represent their personal experiences (as well as the experiences of those around them) of the impact of war.
  • Describe how the poetry of the period might complement other written or oral recollections.
  • Examine poetry and demonstrate an enhanced critical awareness to express opinions of the poems under discussion.
  • List at least one piece of WW1 poetry (or WW1 poet) that is new to me.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

This is a live course delivered at a WEA teaching location. If you have access to a computer/smart phone and an email address, these would still be useful, as our Student Learning Record and feedback is generated and stored on our online learning platform. If not, paper copies will be available.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

The Poetry and Poets of the First World War with Paul Jarman

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