Great Longer Poems of the Twentieth Century

Ref: C3529050

Great Longer Poems of the Twentieth Century Over ten weeks we will read together 10 major poetic responses to life in the tumultuous 20th Century. We will look in turn at Thomas Hardy, W B Yeats, T S Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, David Jones, W H Auden, Basil Bunting, Seamus Heaney and Geoffrey Hill, contextualising their work and personalities, and reading aloud passages from their greatest works. We will make our own sense of these sometimes difficult and radically innovative poets, sharing personal responses through guided discussion. Are these poets 'redeeming the time', or have they given up all hope? We begin with Hardy's 'God's Funeral', track through Eliot's 'The Waste Land', marvel at Stevens's luminous fabrications and consider Geoffrey Hill's 'visionary etymology'.

Course aim

To undertake a critical journey through ten of the great poetic responses to the events of the tumultuous 20th century. To understand the role of poetry and the poet in times of political violence.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Confidently appreciate the most challenging poetry.
  • Understand the difficulties and ambitions of longer poems.
  • Evaluate the link between poetry and a poet's historical and political circumstances.
  • Enjoy the peculiar word-choices made by individual poets.
  • Undertake the relevant research required by 'serious' poetry.

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 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?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Buying copies of all 10 poets may be expensive. The tutor will provide photocopies of most, but it would be useful for students to buy/borrow copies of T S Eliot's The Waste Land, Basil Bunting's Briggflatts and Geoffrey Hill's Selected Poems.

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?

Download full Course information sheet

Great Longer Poems of the Twentieth Century

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


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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