In the Pity: Poetry of the First World War and Beyond

Ref: C2224485

‘In the Pity’: Poetry of the First World War….. and beyond. In this, the centenary period of the First World War , it seems timely to re-examine and reassess some of the poetry produced during and about the so-called ‘war to end all wars ‘. The course will consider poetry written from diversity of viewpoints, by both combatants and those on the home front, as the war began, progressed and ended. There will also be a consideration of poems about the war, written by subsequent generations, up to and including the present day. Early reactions: Rupert Brooke, Julian Grenfell et al. Realisation of war: Edward Thomas, Charles Hamilton Sorley. Disillusionment and protest: Siegfried Sassoon. The Pity of War: Wilfred Owen. Other voices: Isaac Rosenberg, Robert Graves and Ivor Gurney. Everyman: popular songs and verses. The voice of women. Later reactions: Philip Larkin, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy and Glyn Maxwell.

Course aim

The course aims to examine some of the poetry written during the First World War, covering a wide range of experiences and opinions.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • approach poems with an enhanced critical understanding
  • have some understanding of different poetic approaches to the war
  • have an appreciation of how poets' attitudes towards war changed under the impact of the experience of trench warfare
  • have an awareness of the responses of subsequent generations of poets to the First Word War

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full Course information sheet

In the Pity: Poetry of the First World War and Beyond


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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