Focus on Poetry

Ref: C2343937

This is a short creative writing course that focuses on using poems as a source of inspiration. The first and third week of the course will feature discussions of the two poems and ideas for writing - the second and fourth week will be reading and discussing your work aloud. The two poems chosen by the Tutor, a published poet, are by two of her own inspirations - Dylan Thomas and George Mackay Brown, so come along and prepare to be inspired by two amazing poems full of vibrant images and ideas.

Course aim

This course looks at writing poetry by concentrating on a couple of poems chosen by tutor, Deborah Tyler-Bennett, to focus on as inspiration. The poems are 'Fern Hill' by Dylan Thomas, and 'Farm Labourer' by George Mackay Brown.

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:
  • 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: and
  • 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 course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Recognise how 'Fern Hill' by Dylan Thomas uses a childhood landscape to move between two ideas - the poet as narrator, and the poet's view of childhood and thinking back.
  • Explore how George MacKay Brown uses the idea of age and landscape in 'Farm Labourer' to weave a poem from images of place and time.
  • Recognise how other poets can inspire our own writing, and give us ideas to work from.
  • Achieve two poem drafts (or maybe more) writing from ideas from the poems of others.
  • Explore, via discussion of works by both poets, how landscape and time can be used in writing.

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:
  • 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 may want to look at You Tube to see various versions of Thomas's and Mackay Brown's poems, keep a writer's notebook yourself if you don't already keep one, and think of using Thomas's word lists (which I'll talk about in class) as another source of inspiration.

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 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

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:
  • 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:
  • Please bring pen and paper to each Zoom session, and your notebook if you have one (this might be digital or paper).

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:
  • The tutor has a poem and letter to Thomas in a new anthology on Dylan Thomas (Dear Dylan, due from Indigo Dreams in 2021), poems inspired by George Mackay Brown appeared in Take Five from Shoestring Press, ed. John Lucas, 2003), 81-83.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • If you write you may want to consider sending work off for publication, and the Tutor is happy to give advice and suggestions on this.

Download full course information sheet

Focus on Poetry

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

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