Poetry of Philip Larkin

Ref: C2344300

Philip Larkin's reputation both as master of 20th century poetry and as grumpy right-wing misogynist (a view contested by his biographer James Booth) came under the spotlight in 2017, when Hull's famous librarian was celebrated as part of the City of Culture celebrations. As we cope with the challenges of 2021, the words of the man who wrote 'Where can we live but days?' continue to shock, move, and illuminate. We examine a selection of his poems - accessible, witty, revealing and thought-provoking - in an atmosphere that welcomes everyone from Larkin enthusiasts to those who would just like to know more about the man and his work.

Course aim

The course provides an opportunity to study the poems of Philip Larkin, considered by many to be the greatest post-war British poet, in some depth.

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 course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Outline Larkin's life and career in broad terms and give an opinion as to his place in the history of poetry.
  • Take part with some confidence in online discussions appraising and analysing Larkin's work.
  • Choose one Larkin poem and write or talk about why you would rescue this particular poem from a bonfire, assuming all Larkin's work was to perish in flames with no copies left behind.
  • (Optional) Write your own creative response in poetry or prose to the work you have studied.

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

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.
  • 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

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • Poems to be studied in a session will be posted on Canvas in advance. You may wish to print these poems.

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
  • Three recommended biographies of Larkin are by James Booth, Andrew Motion and Richard Bradford; his complete works are edited by Antony Thwaite. All would be useful, but not essential, pre- reading.

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 http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full course information sheet

Poetry of Philip Larkin


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 declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • 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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