"Seldom they enter into song or story": the Women Poets of the First World War

Ref: C2346831

While it is a frequently overlooked fact, not all poetry of the First World War was written in the trenches or composed by “the soldier poets”. There were many poets writing about other aspects of life during the war and many of these were women. Whether they were serving as nurses in British hospitals or in the various theatres of war across the world (and often in dangerous and terrible conditions), whether they were engaged in other war service at home or whether they simply tried to go on living their former civilian lives, forever haunted by the reality or prospect of losing loved ones, the huge corpus of poetry written by women during and immediately after WW1 can provide fascinating new insights into life during the worst conflict that the world had ever known. Taking a different theme each week, this course will explore questions such as how did some women poets encourage young men to enlist and what did others tell us about the changing roles and views of women within society.

Course aim

To tap into the rich (but often forgotten) vein of poetry written by women during WW1 and explore what contribution their work has made to our knowledge and understanding of life during the period, whether back at home or nearer to the war zones.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • This is a course for anyone who enjoys reading poetry at any level and has an interest in the period.

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

  • List at least three poems written by women during the period which were previously unknown to me.
  • Explain how one or more poems explored on the course has given me a better insight into the personal experiences of its author, whether she was serving in the medical corps, carrying out other war work at home or continuing to live life as a civilian.
  • Explore how important the medium of poetry was during the war (to both readers and writers) and of the many different ways in which women poets used it to convey personal emotions, political opinions, religious beliefs, etc.
  • Describe how the poetry of the period might complement other written or oral recollections.
  • Assess the extent to which the poetry can contribute to our understanding of the changing roles and perceptions of women during the period.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

This is an online course, so you will need an email address and a device with a camera and speakers in order to participate in the weekly Zoom sessions and to access the WEA's Student Learning Record and other crucial material which is generated and stored on our online learning platform Canvas.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

"Seldom they enter into song or story": the Women 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 2021
  • 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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