Poetry Adventure

Ref: C3528603

Course Description: Explore different periods and styles of writing, from Shakespeare to the present day. Includes case studies of Seamus Heaney’s sonnets and John Berryman’s “Dream Songs”. Audio and DVD illustrations will be used. No experience necessary. Course Outline: 1. Introduction. 2. Shakespeare: Biography, Myth and the “first sonnet”. 3. Shakespeare at work: Extracts from “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Romeo and Juliet”. 4. Seamus Heaney: Irish Laureate. 5. Geoffrey Hill: In Memoriam. 6. Imtiaz Dharker: Trials of a “Scottish Muslim Calvinist”. 7. Joan Margarit: Catalan architect in translation. 8. Les Murray: Australian laureate. 9. John Berryman: “Dream Songs” (1969). 10. Conclusion.

Course aim

To explore the links between poetry, history and the individual. We will read a text closely; be it poem, criticism, film or painting. We will then examine that text in its literary and historical context.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Must be able to read English.

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

  • Assess Shakespeare’s use of sources.
  • Describe Jane Austen’s use of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
  • Summarise the Croppy Rebellion.
  • State which poet has written about his child’s autism.
  • Analyse John Berryman’s use of allusion.

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
  • People will be expected to keep up with the reading and to contribute in class discussions (if they wish to do so).

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
  • Informal feedback; there will be no formal tests or exams.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • There will be a "1980s Poetry" course by the same tutor in the following term.

Download full course outline

Poetry Adventure 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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