Hannah Evans writes:
If I had to describe the experience of my first poetry lecture with John Holmes in three words, they would be reassuring, inspiring and engaging.
It was especially satisfying to see that an established professor thought it worthwhile to ensure that us, nervous freshers felt at ease. After a brief introduction, the poets themselves became the centre of our attention, Professor Holmes encouraged us to think of his teaching as more of a discussion, prompting us to ask questions and give our own opinions. He asked about our familiarity with the poets, and whether I did or I didn’t know of them; the lecture made me feel comfortable and relaxed for the first time at University.
The methods of teaching were unlike A-Levels as the pace was much faster, meaning that the teaching never lost momentum and students were always at full concentration. Similarly to A-Levels, we listened to the professional and made our annotations while being prompted to express our own ideas and personal responses to them.
The content itself involved four poems, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century. The variation of time periods ensured that the lecture remained mentally stimulating throughout. Likewise, the passion for the subject amongst the students and professor subsided by nerves and ensured that the lecture was always enticing.
In this lecture, it was confirmed that I had made the correct degree choice and that Reading University was in the right place to complete it.