Exploring Poetry

Ref: C2341677

This course will focus on a selection of poems some grouped under a broad theme and some taken from a recently published collection by an established poet. Each student will receive a booklet of the relevant poems and will be given the opportunity to contribute additional poems of their choice. Through sharing ideas in discussions, we shall explore deeper levels of meaning and consider techniques poets use to achieve impact. Discussion, sometimes involving the whole class, sometimes working in pairs, will be an important part of this process. Poetry covers a wide range of topics dealing with interpretations of aspects of the world and human emotions. By considering how poetry distills key strands of these topics, we shall be touching on matters relevant to the way we live.

Course aim

To tease out deeper levels of meaning and share ideas on a selection of poems. The poems selected will be linked to specific themes and/or taken from a collection by a contemporary poet.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • No specific skills are required but an interest in literature would be helpful.

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

  • demonstrate a wider knowledge of poetry
  • explain why I prefer some poems to others
  • show a knowledge of poetic techniques
  • describe the relationship between form and content in 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
  • You will be encouraged to share ideas with others by contributing to discussions.

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
  • You may, if you wish, submit a written response to a poem but this is not compulsory.

What else do I need to know?

  • A notebook and a file for handouts would be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Pre-reading is not essential but an interesting range of poems can be found in anthologies such as 'Being Alive' ed. Neil Astley, published by Bloodaxe. (N. B. Also in this series are 'Staying Alive' and 'Being Human'.) or Penguin's 'The Zoo of the New', selected by Nick Laird and Don Paterson.

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Exploring Poetry


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

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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