Words That Burn - demand through poetry


First watch poet and educator Evanilson Alves perform his poem ‘2005: Sacred Year’. 

Evanilson uses his poetry to open people’s eyes. He speaks of how those in power attempt to silence, subvert and distort his message. However, through his poetry he can challenge, he can be heard and he can immortalise his community’s struggles. 

Through poetry, you can challenge those who are in positions of power and privilege to make change.  


“Dear Hearing World”. Uploaded by Red Earth Studio

Raymond Antrobus is a deaf British-Jamaican spoken-word artist, poet, educator and editor. His work, including the collections To Sweeten Bitter and The Perseverance, explores the hidden depths of identity, coming to terms with his own deafness and the death of his father.

Watch 'Dear Hearing World', a short film directed by Adam Docker, based on Raymond Antrobus’ poem by the same name. The film blends Raymond’s spoken words with music and deaf actress Vilma Jackson’s powerful and thought-provoking performance in British Sign Language. (read the poem)

Now reflect on the poem: 

•    What do you like / dislike about the poem?
•    What are experiences that are being shared?  
•    What can the hearing world change? 


Complete a free-write to come up with ideas for a poem addressed to a person or group of people you feel have more power or privilege than you, eg Dear Adult World, Dear Government World.

A free-write means you are free to write without worrying about structure, rhyme, spelling or grammar. Pick the person or group you will address. Set a timer for 3 minutes and begin ‘Dear...’ Write the first thing that comes to your head and don’t pause or stop writing until the timer goes. 

Now read your free-write. Highlight any key phrases or words in your free-write that you like or feel surprised by. Use your ideas to compose a poem.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Words That Burn - bitesize poetry series 

Explore more about the power of poetry with our other bitesize blogs:

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

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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.
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