The Poetry and Poets of the First World War

Ref: C2343759

The First World War generated an unprecedented amount of new poetry—more than any previous war in which Great Britain had been involved. Throughout the conflict, poetry was used for a variety of purposes, from recruitment to protest. While much of this poetry was written by those who were directly involved in the action, there was also a significant amount written by civilians back at home, including by women. In this course we will be exploring a varied selection of poetry—some very familiar and some less so—written during WW1. Tackling different themes each week, we will take a small selection of poems and ask how they contribute to (or perhaps even distort) our understanding of the period. We will examine the lives of the poets whose work we are studying and place the poems alongside other material, such as letters, diaries and other personal reminiscences.

Course aim

To examine a selection of poems, largely written between 1914–18, to ask how their writers (men and women), whether directly involved in the action or not, used the medium of poetry to express their experiences of and attitudes towards the war.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Anyone with an interest in poetry, WW1 or both. Anyone who, though you may not be regular readers of poetry, would like to discover what a powerful tool it was in the hands of men and women during the years 1914—18.

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

  • Increase knowledge of WW1 poetry and poets
  • Explain how those poets used the medium of poetry to represent their personal experiences (as well as the experiences of those around them) of the impact of war
  • Describe how the poetry of the period might complement other written or oral recollections
  • Examine poetry with an enhanced critical awareness and use that knowledge to express opinions of the poems under discussion

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • 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
  • Handouts will be provided in advance of each week’s lesson consisting of the poems and other relevant material. Each poem will be read out during the lesson and students encouraged to discuss it with each other. Two further poems will be given on each handout for students to comment upon afterwards.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be able to keep a record of your progress and achievement using photos, audio, text or documents uploaded into the WEA’s digital learning platform, WEA Canvas.
  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.
  • You will be able to keep a digital portfolio of your work on WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas.
  • 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?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • No pre reading or pre course work is essential, but any dip into an anthology of WW1 poetry or brief research into the history of the war is likely to enhance your enjoyment of the course. The WEA tutor will be providing a comprehensive bibliography of useful websites and books in advance.

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

The Poetry and Poets of the First World War

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2020
  • 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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