Day School - John Clare

Ref: C3529067

John Clare, the ‘rhyming peasant’: poetry of dwelling and displacement in the late Romantic period. Clare is arguably England’s greatest poet of nature and the environment. ‘I kicked it out of the clods,’ he said. What were the impulses and influences which generated such a unique voice in poetry? We shall read poems and prose about what lies under a hedge, as well as about boundless vistas; about particular birds and trees, as well as the effects of loss of home and his parochial landscape. We shall consider the social and economic circumstances, in the first half of the nineteenth century, which fuelled his protest poems. And we shall look at his final displacement in madness.

Course aim

To explore John Clare's 'language that is ever green': an introduction to the work of this late Romantic poet, with a view to appreciating his unique contribution to the tradition of British landscape writing.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • All comers welcome.

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

  • Understand the relationship between the social, economic and agrarian developments in the first half of the nineteenth century and the poetry of John Clare
  • Understand Clare's unique place as the 'rhyming peasant' within the tradition of British writing about landscape and the natural world.
  • Appreciate the range of poetic forms, techniques and idioms employed by Clare.

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 will be expected to read some short pieces of poetry during the day. The readings will be provided.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided

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

Download full Course information sheet

Day School - John Clare


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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