The Poetry of War

Ref: C2341633

Using '1914 Poetry Remembers', edited by Carol Ann Duffy, we will read and discuss a range of approaches to war and loss, both in the front line and at home. Using various other poetry sources we will discuss poetry from WW2, Vietnam and the present day.

Course aim

The course aim is to enable students to study a varied collection of poetry and prose from WW1, chosen by modern poets; to consider the lives of some of the past and present authors; and to look at poetry from WW2 and other wars in the C20 and C21.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • An interest in the literature of war from WW1 to the present day would be useful

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

  • Read aloud and discuss a range of poetry and prose from WW1
  • Analyse the style and structure of some poems from this period
  • Describe the background of writers from this period such as Vera Brittain and Siegfried Sassoon
  • Identify and discuss some war poetry from 1939 onwards
  • Share own interest in this era of poetry with the tutor and others in the group

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
  • You will share poetry reading in small and larger groups

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?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • You will need a copy of '1914 Poetry Remembers' edited by Carol Ann Duffy.

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
  • An understanding of how the great war affected real lives might be useful eg. The Beauty and The Sorrow (Profile Books 2012) Peter Englund To End All Wars (Macmillan 2011) Adam Hochschild, a highly readable account of how the suffragettes, shell shock and conscientious objectors divided Britain

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
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

The Poetry of War

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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