Poetry Writing - Contemporary American Poetry

Ref: C3671416

From Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, to American poets writing today such as Billy Collins, WS Merwin, Sharon Olds and Phillip Levine, we will look at the major movements and poets in America in the past century. This course will focus on close readings of contemporary American poets to inspire new poetry writing.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to American poetry - major movements of the past Century, looking at a variety of poets and poems, to inspire the writing of new poems.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • An interest in both reading and writing poetry is helpful

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

  • Have a basic knowledge of the main poetry movements in American poetry in the past century
  • Have a basic knowledge of the major American poets in the past century
  • Be familiar with some of the poems of one or two American poets
  • Write new poems based on writing exercises
  • Develop critical skills in reading 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 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

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.)
  • Pen and paper or notebook

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
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • writing groups and courses

Download full course outline

Poetry Writing - Contemporary American 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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