Short Stories and Poems

Ref: C3741399

The course will include short stories by Willa Cather, Henry James, Flannery O'Connor, and Claire Keegan. The poems will include works by Robert Browning, T S Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, and Carol Ann Duffy. We will consider the different ways in which short stories can be told; the importance of point of view, characterisation, and structure; and the significance of descriptive writing. When we discuss the poems, we will look at the role of the speaker; the way in which images can express key themes and ideas; the importance of tone, rhythm, rhyme and sound; and especially original use of language.

Course aim

We will consider the themes, style and structure of some outstanding short stories and poems, explore hopes, fears and aspirations and problems of identity.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is for anyone who is interested in Literature. Although the course is taught at Level 3, there are no entry requirements apart from an interest and enthusiasm for literature

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

  • Discuss the social, psychological and moral themes.
  • Comment on some of the techniques which make a short story effective.
  • Analyse your favourite passages of descriptive writing.
  • Discuss the use of tone, imagery, sound and rhyme in a few poems.
  • Gain confidence in discussing ideas and in listening carefully to other points of view.

How will I be taught?

  • Your tutor will encourage you to take part in discussion. Each week you will be given questions and issues to think about in preparation for the next week's session. You will have the opportunity to introduce a topic, but this is not required.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • The tutor will give you informal feedback on your progress. You can contact the tutor by email if you need advice or feedback. The tutor will give you advice about how to build up your confidence if you feel shy about participating.

What else do I need to know?

  • At the first session, we will discuss a short story by Will Cather. This story will be sent to you by early March.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It would be helpful if you could read the short story for session 1. Questions to think about will be sent to you well before the course starts.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

Short Stories and Poems


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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