What is Words That Burn?

Words That Burn is a national project to explore and express human rights through poetry, in partnership with Cheltenham Festivals.

Who can take part?

Words that Burn is for anyone who wants to make their voice heard through poetry. 

You can take the Make a Difference in a Minute challenge by creating a poem that can be performed in a minute or under for one of our current poetry actions or in response to our current human rights theme.  

Secondary and Further Education teachers can use our free Words That Burn teaching resources - a collection of 10 session plans designed to support students to develop their own writing and performance style. 

What is included

The Make a Difference in a Minute actions challenge you to create and submit poetry for a real-life individual at risk or a current campaign. We will forward your submitted solidarity and appeal poetry as appropriate and showcase a selection of your poetry on our website.

Our featured poets have shared a diverse range of inspirational poetry and spoken word performances, as well as filming their advice for emerging writers. 

Our showcase of your poetry demonstrates the impact of your voice, with brilliant examples of your written and performed poetry as well as updates on the cases and campaigns. 

The Words That Burn teaching resources is a collection of 10 session plans, each accompanied by poems, film and PowerPoint, that can be used in classrooms and other educational settings to explore solidarity and protest through poetry. 

Why is it important? 

We exist to take action to protect human rights and individuals at risk around the world. We know the power of creative solidarity to human rights violations and we want to encourage and support you to use poetry to take action.

How to submit poems

You can submit a poem for a current action or on the current human rights theme in written form, as an audio clip or as a video. This can be taken using a smartphone or any other recording device you have available. Remember, the make a different in a minute challenge is to create a poem that you can perform in a minute or under!

A selection of poems will be chosen and showcased on our website. We will let you know if a poem is selected.

Share your poetry on social media using the #wordsthatburn hashtag and the title of your poem.