Poetry is an inspiring way to bring people together to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). This activity will support you to bring your group together to produce a filmed poetry reading, which can be shared as a stand alone film or used in another HMD activity.
Even if you aren’t able to physically join together, your organisation or group can still take part in creative projects. In this activity you will get creative, and work together to choose and read a poem about the Holocaust or a genocide that has happened since. Each person in your group will film themselves reading a line of your chosen poem, and the clips are brought together to create a powerful film to share online or at your event, such as an online HMD ceremony.
Step by step guide
There are five simple steps to creating your own filmed poetry reading. Make sure you allow plenty of time for this activity to ensure your finished film is ready for Holocaust Memorial Day.
- Choose a poem from the selection here or write your own poem using our poetry writing resource.
- Send the poem to each person in your group, clearly identifying the line(s) they will be reading. Depending on the number of participants, you may wish to record more than one poem. Consider sending the life story of someone affected by genocide, along with the poem, to inspire your participants and increase their knowledge of the genocide the poem relates to.
- Ask each participant to film themselves reading their line and send their film to you via email, WhatsApp or another messaging platform. You may want to consider the following when giving instructions to the group:
- It will be easier to edit if the film clips are all the same format; we recommend landscape as this is better for both social media and screening.
- Ensure the participants have a clear deadline.
- You don’t need any professional equipment, the camera on your phone is fine.
- To ensure there is consistency between each of the film clips you could ask everyone to have the same background, hold a similar item, or wear the same colour top.
- You may want to ask the first person to say the name of the poem and the author, or to hold up a piece of paper with this information on. Alternatively you can add this at the editing stage.
- Use a free editing app or programme to edit all of the readings together, to make one film of the whole poem. Free apps include Film maker on android phones or Filmmaker Pro on Iphone. You may want to add a title page with the name of the poem and who wrote it.
- Share the film on your social media channels, on or around Holocaust Memorial Day (make sure you tag us on Twitter or Facebook). There is more information about marking HMD online here. If you are organising an online HMD ceremony you could screen your film as part of the event.
Here is an example film made by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust staff team, who are reading We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer.
Take it further
- Organise an online ceremony for your audience, using our guide, and include the poem
- Use our lesson plan to explore poetry and genocide further
- Watch, listen, share and be inspired by actors reading poems:
- Encourage your participants to write their own poetry as a response to genocide, inspired by something they’ve read/heard/learnt. Use our poetry activity resource for guidance
Let us know
Don’t forget to add your poem activity to our online map and let us know how you marked HMD! Every event, online or in person, makes up the national picture of how the UK marks HMD.