Although the thought of taking a literary class had often crossed my mind every now and then, I never seemed to get round to it. Well, more fool me. But then again perhaps not, given that my timing to explore a course like this now meant that it would be Woody River who was teaching the class. Without over praising at all I can simple say that she is the sort of tutor that you dream of having, but don’t actually expect to exist.
The classes (I have done 2 now) have been extremely informative and always interesting and each class has been a pure pleasure to attend. Woody has a very comprehensive knowledge of her subject and how she manages to convey so much of this on to us in such a relaxed, yet captivating, manner I do not know – but she does. As someone who has always enjoyed reading very much I can wholeheartedly recommend any course that Woody is kind enough to offer.
– Maggie, Frome Community Education learner.
I have now attended two of Woody’s courses: Romantic Poets in the South West and 20th century American Literature.
I have enjoyed both. I agree with other students of Woody’s who find her approach stimulating, interesting and her infectious enthusiasm makes me want to learn more about our subject. I am a lifelong avid reader and it is a treat to find new authors or discover new things about ones I have already read.
I particularly appreciate the creative approach Woody brings in introducing other texts or ideas to illustrate the work of the writer we are studying.
She is good at encouraging discussion among the group and for boosting confidence in her learners so all feel able to contribute opinions and ideas.
I would strongly recommend attendance at Woody’s courses.
- Sara, Frome Community Education learner
Japanese literature course.
A very stimulating and thought-provoking course – well run in a pleasant, friendly manner – excellent tutor.
- Sue, South West region WEA / CASA learner.
Woody River has been introducing a group of us to highlights of Japanese literature. There can be something daunting about approaching so foreign a culture but also something entrancing and stimulating. Under Woody’s enthusiastic and well informed guidance, we have entered a world of new experiences and through a wide range of personalities and literary styles, we have incidentally become more acquainted with the geography, history and psychology of Japan.
We ranged from the poetic rustic travels of the 17th century Basho and the mystical stories of 18th century Akinari, steeped in classical legend, to the social concerns of Higuche and very modern identity issues of Akutagawa, reflecting the turbulent changes as Japan opened up dramatically to the West after the mid 19th century. Extracts from Ibuse’s Black Rain on the traumatic aftermath of Hiroshima provoked discussion and reflection on our knowledge of, and attitudes to, Japan, as was skillfully engineered by our tutor on all the works we covered. I would strongly recommend Woody as a guide on any literary quest.
- Paul, South West region WEA / CASA learner
Thank you for a really interesting introduction to 20th century American literature. We learnt a great deal and enjoyed the interactive sessions with much discussion. The inclusion of audio and video clips helped bring the texts to life and the atmosphere in the classes enabled everyone to voice their views. We would highly recommend the course!
- Richard and Annie, South West region WEA / CASA learners.
Woody’ s course on American Literature was a delightful experience. It was very well planned and covered a wide range of writing, illustrated not only with well chosen excerpts of text, but also with film clips, music and the recorded voice. Lively discussion and time for reflection on how the works linked to ‘The American Dream’ has given me a new perspective in my reading and has introduced me to some authors whose works were unfamiliar to me. Thank you, Woody. I can’t wait for the next course.
- Pat, South West region WEA / CASA learner.
Japanese Literature course
This course introduced Japanese poetry, short stories and novels in a very interesting and absorbing way. Woody opened each session with a brief biography of the writer and an explanation of their influences and interests. She then invited the group to read aloud extracts from some of the works. This was followed by reflection and open discussion. Video and audio clips were used as appropriate.
Woody’s enthusiasm was infectious but she never allowed it to dictate what the group members should think. Every individual was allowed plenty of time to express his or her opinions and each was given serious consideration. Woody is an excellent tutor. She develops good rapport with the students and enables group members to relate well to one another. She responds quickly and appropriately to suggestions and comments and is always sensitively aware of any participant who may need extra help or support. I am sure that any course tutored by Woody would be well worth attending and a rewarding experience.
- Mike, South West region WEA / CASA learner