Words That Burn – listen through poetry

Watch

 “Imtiaz Dharker on her poem 'The Right Word' | English Literature - Poetry Between the Lines” BBC Teach, bbc.co.uk/teach

First watch poet, artist and filmmaker Imtiaz Dharker discuss her poem ‘The Right Word’ in this clip presented by hip-hop artist Akala. (read the poem)

Imtiaz Dharker explores how language can influence our perception of others. She encourages us to seek understanding of the many facets of each person rather than to accept the one judgement or label you may hear. 

As a poet, you can make a choice to educate yourself before you put a pen to paper. What research can you do? How can you listen to the experience of others? 

Explore

Yrsa Daley-Ward is an award-winning writer and poet of mixed West Indian and West African heritage who was born in the North England. Yrsa uses Instagram to share her work and to connect with a community of poets. She has two published books – Bones, a poetry collection, and The Terrible, a lyrical memoir. 

Watch Yrsa Daley-Ward perform ‘And that’s the thing about ignorance’. (read the poem)

Now reflect on the poem: 

  • What do you like / dislike about the poem?
  • Is there anything that puzzles you?
  • What is the impact of the choices the poem presents to us?

Create

Choose someone in the public eye whom you admire for speaking up on an issue they care about. Write a list of words that you would use to describe that person.

Research the person further. How are they described in the media? How does the person describe their own experiences and opinions? Add some descriptive words to your list. 

Now select six words from your list. Create a six-stanza poem about respect – each stanza should end with one of your selected words. A stanza is a verse.

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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