Words That Burn - celebrate through poetry
First watch poet, author and performer Joelle Taylor explain why she is a poet.
Joelle says she is inspired by “… people coming from the more disadvantaged communities, from the marginalised communities. And just listening to their stories of stoicism, resistance, dissonance, change and that somehow provokes poetry within me.”
As a poet, you can connect with other people’s stories and use your poetry to reply. You can celebrate those with whom you share collective experience. You can amplify the voices of people you feel deserve to be heard.
Vanessa Kisuule is a Bristol-based performance poet and writer. She has won numerous Slam championships and has been named the Bristol City Poet 2018-2020.
Watch Vanessa Kisuule perform ‘Take Up Space’ (read the poem).
Now reflect on the poem:
- What did you like/dislike?
- Does it trigger any feelings in you?
- Does anything in the poem resonate with you? Why?
Now choose an image of someone involved in a human rights moment whom you want to celebrate. Or choose one of the below images to celebrate.
Think about or make notes on what you can see: the body language of the person or people; their facial expressions; surroundings; any questions you have about the event or people; what catches your attention in the photograph; which human rights are being enjoyed.
Write a three-stanza poem using the second person ‘You’ and using this pattern:
- Stanza 1 - Describe the body language and facial expression of the person
- Stanza 2 - Describe the surroundings and what other people are doing.
- Stanza 3 - Ask the person questions about who they are, what is happening, how it came about and how they feel about it.
Young people hand-in a 75k strong #FamiliesTogether petition to the Home Office. © Marie-Anne Ventoura /Amnesty International.
Northern Ireland: first same-sex marriage takes place. © Justin Kernoghan/Amnesty International.
Words That Burn - bitesize poetry series
Explore more about the power of poetry with our other bitesize blogs:
- 1 – introducing our bitesize poetry series
- 2 – reflect through poetry
- 3 – feel through poetry
- 4 – question through poetry
- 5 – listen through poetry
- 6 – dream through poetry
- 7 – demand through poetry
- 8 – celebrate through poetry
The Words That Burn bitesize poetry series explores the power of poetry and suggests writing activities you can try at home. For full teaching resources visit www.amnesty.org.uk/wordsthatburn
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.