Poems for pleasure

Ref: C2338049

Each poet this group studies becomes part of a jigsaw - "20thC. poets", but Alice is the first 21st century poet for us to study. Each book widens her range of ideas and each contains a long poem as its finale, a long poem she learns by heart and "performs". This oral focus defines all her poems. She is a professional gardener, a classical scholar, a biologist in her insights into nature, a Devonian. All feed into her poems.

Course aim

To acquaint ourselves with the work of Alice Oswald, widely regarded as the finest poet of her age in the U.K. (b.1966).

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • But people with enthusiasm and an open mind.

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

  • Widen the store of poems you know.
  • Feel more confident reading unfamiliar poems on your own, especially reading them aloud
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how poets find and create new forms for their poems.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how poems respond to personal and external pressures.
  • Conduct your own research, read up particular topics on behalf of the class and present your findings.

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
  • A major emphasis is on reading poems aloud as a means to coming to understand them. Students are encouraged to work in small groups leading to discussion within the whole group.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • 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
  • Every discussion allows constant feedback between tutor and student and amongst students themselves.

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring pen, pencil, notebook or ringbinder. And whatever by Alice Oswald you can find.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Any of these four books: 'The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile', 'Woods', 'Memorial' and 'Falling Awake'. Amazon have new & secondhand copies. Search for U-Tube films or her working.

What can I do next?

  • Most students re-enrol to study another poet.

Download full Course information sheet

Poems for pleasure


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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