The Poetry of War

Ref: C2342265

The poems looked at during the course will be from historical sources such as WW1 and WW11, and from other more recent conflicts such as Vietnam and Iraq. As with many WEA courses the content will partly be inspired and created by the students themselves. We will use Carol Ann Duffy's book 1914 Poetry Remembered for reference and some prose pieces from letters, diaries and biographies will also be looked at. This may include works about the poets and writers, such as Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth

Course aim

The course is intending to study poems inspired by war, including the history of war poetry and some modern examples

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • An interest in the literature of war from The Iliad, WW1 and WW11, to the present day would be useful

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

  • Identify, read aloud, and discuss a range of poetry and prose from World War 1
  • Analyse the style and structure of poetry and prose from this period
  • Describe the background of writers from this period such as WilfredOwen and Edward Thomas
  • Identify and discuss war poetry from 1939 onwards
  • Share you own interests in the poetry of war 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 readings of poetry and prose in large and small 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

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: The Beauty and the Sorrow (Profile Books 2012) Peter England To End All Wars (MacMillan 2011) Adam Hochschild

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


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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