Reading Modern Scottish Poetry

Ref: C3125249

Do you enjoy reading poetry? Do you have a particular interest in modern Scottish poetry? Then this might be for you. The course will look back to the beginings of modern Scottish poetry and the writings of Hugh MacDiarmid and Edwin Muir, before and after the second World War. It will then look at the dissident (and often comic) voices of the 1970s and 80s (Tom Leonard, Liz Lochhead) before surveying the prize-winners (Douglas Dunn, Kathleen Jamie) and performers (Jackie Kay) of the last 20 years. You will be surprised and delighted by the poetry and, of course, the on-going debate around Scottish independence.

Course aim

This course on Modern Scottish poetry is for those who enjoy reading poetry and sharing their enthusiasms with others in a supportive and friendly atmosphere.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for people who enjoy the complexities, ambiguities, and political edge of modern poetry. It would attract those with a literature background and a particular interest in Scotland and the arts. Some of the language will be challenging.

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

  • describe the origins of Modern Scottish poetry
  • understand some of the issues facing the poets in Scotland
  • understand something of the nature of dissent in Scotland
  • name at least half a dozen of the leading poets

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
  • Background reading will be flagged up through a dedicated 'reading list' at the start of the course and students will be encouraged to read ahead if possible

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

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Worksheets will be provided for each class but the range of writing we shall be discussing and interpreting is huge so common sense must prevail.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It would be helpful if students dip into an anthology of modern Scottish poetry: "New Scottish Writing", Ed. Harry Ritchie, Bloomsbury, 1996, or Douglas Dunn's anthology of "Twentieth Century Scottish Poetry", Faber, 2006.

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
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • I would hope to offer a companion course on 'Reading Modern Welsh Poetry' in January 2018.

Download full course outline

Reading Modern Scottish Poetry Course Outline


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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