A Short List of the People I Hate

Name of Artist: John Berkavitch
Workshop Theme: A Short List of the People I Hate – List poems /
Writing poetry for performance
Length of Workshop: 3-4 hours
Target age group: 14-18 years (KS3 & KS4)
These notes are provided as a guide. They give you a pattern for a one-day
workshop that I have used successfully with numerous schools and youth groups.
Please adapt the session as appropriate, for your own context. For example you
may have games of your own or wish to allow different amounts of time for the
various exercises.
Group Size
This session has been successful with group sizes between 2 and 35 participants. I
feel the ideal group size is around 24-26 as this gives a lot of opportunity for
I hope the notes and materials I have provided will make it possible for any
English/Drama teacher, or anybody with an interest in poetry to deliver this
session. Before you deliver this workshop you might find it helpful to download the
adult audio version of the poem, A Short List of the People I Hate from the Apples
& Snakes website (Please be aware the adult version contains some language that
some people may find offensive. The version supplied in this plan has been edited
for use in the classroom)
You will need:
• A room big enough for all the participants to feel comfortable.
• Paper and pens.
• A whiteboard or flipchart and pens.
• Copies of A Short List of the People I Hate (one between two)
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 1 of 6
A Short List of the People I Hate!
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen my name is John Berkavitch and I’m the most hateful
person you’ve ever met.
I hate everyone you hate and I hate all of you,
This is a short list of the people I hate.
That bloke, that girl and that one with the hat,
And that one with the picture of that thing on her back,
That guy with the neck and that fella who's a crack-head,
And the real skinny geezer with the big leather jacket,
The man up the road who looks like Paul off Neighbours,
And anyone who thinks it’s cool to use your phone like a light-sabre,
And you know those girls who like to paint themselves orange
With fake tan and stand around pretending they're foreign,
And that weird-looking bloke with the...you know yeah,
And them two other lads with that stuff in their hair,
That sickly-looking woman who wears more make-up than is strictly necessary,
And those girls who think dogs are a fashion accessory,
That whole group of lads that look at me funny,
And that guy that don't remember that he owes me that money,
Well that guy and his cousin and his plug-ugly sister,
And the two-dozen fellows that got too pissed and kissed her,
The man that I see at my tram stop each morning,
And anyone with the nerve to yawn when I'm talking,
Bumbling politicians, slam judges, racists and bigots,
Disgruntled magicians with grudges and time-wasting idiots,
The guy who tried to sell me a stereo out the back of his lorry,
And the guy who shoulder-barged me without saying sorry,
The whole cast of Corrie,
(God they're frustrating),
Drivers who turn without indicating,
Anyone who plays Robbie Williams at their wedding,
In fact Robbie Williams 'cos he straight does my head in,
All my ex-girlfriends and all their new boyfriends,
Anyone who air quotes when they use specific terminology,
My jobs-worth ex-boss, who would always insist that we did everything properly,
People who moan when they don't win the lottery,
And people who think Starbucks sell fair-trade coffee,
Ignorant people, people with no kind of ambition,
People who want me to sign their petition,
Charity muggers, substandard mimes and McDonalds employees,
Robot women from the future sent back in time on a mission to destroy me,
Anyone who thinks that I'm paranoid, me?
Anyone who shagged Dirty Den from EastEnders,
And the one from Big Brother 2 who no one remembers,
Kids who say they can’t without even trying,
And that girl who said, "Believe me" when I knew she was lying,
That fat bloke with the scruffy beard and matey with the flashy car,
That girl who thinks I'm proper weird and her boyfriend with the matching bra,
Anyone who thinks it’s fashionable to wear a T-shirt and a scarf,
(Oi mate if it's cold just put your flippin’ coat on),
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 2 of 6
People who act like they're something they're not when they're blatantly fooling no
Policemen, traffic wardens and other authority figures,
Minotaurs, gorgons and other mythological creatures,
Poor public speakers with social skills like they were raised in caves,
And any company I've invoiced who didn't see it as their dues to pay me what I
was owed within the requisite specified duration of 28 days,
The American girl who said "Gee you sound like Dr Zeus,”
And that guy that told those girls I was bad news when he didn't have no proof,
Short-changing shopkeepers who don't acknowledge the truth,
And history teachers who've wasted their youth,
O.A.Ps who only tell the same two war stories,
And the man with the 20-year-old girlfriend, who is in his late forties,
The security guard who shadows me whenever I'm out shopping,
And those girls who don't catch all the hints that I'm dropping,
Miserable strangers and sour-faced barmaids,
The kids who make it dangerous to walk through the arcades,
Anyone who describes their style as experimental,
Pretentious art students, in fact students in general,
I hate all these people; I hate them through and through,
But most of all I hate people like…...
© John Berkavitch
Structure of the session.
1. Introduction What is Poetry? 5-10 mins
2. Featured poem Deliver the poem (copy attached) and allow time for the
group to discuss it. Approx 20 mins
3. Warm up games Icebreaker and Creative Writing games 30-45 mins
4. Writing a list poem Working in small groups, producing a poem per group
1 hour
5. Preparation for performance Drama exercises and final editing 35 mins
6. Rehearsal The more time allowed for rehearsal the better the performance
will be 25 mins
Rehearsals cont. You can never rehearse too much. 1 hour
7. Performance 45 mins
8. Plenary 5-10 mins
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 3 of 6
1. Introduction
Q. Put up your hand if you think Poetry’s boring.
Q. What is Poetry?
A. Expressive/Creative Writing/Verses, Rhymes or Prose, Lyrics etc.
Q. What is Rap?
A. Originally sold to the mainstream as Rhythmic Americanised Poetry.
Also Rhythm And Poetry.
Q. Are Rappers Poets?
A. Yes
2. Featured poem.
The teacher should read the accompanying poem to the group.
Hand out copies of the poem to the group to discuss in smaller groups.
3. Warm up games
The first game I use is also my control device for the day.
3 or 4 participants are selected at random and have the count of ten to arrange
themselves into a still image that illustrates a situation selected by the teacher.
E.g. “Bank Robbery,” “House on Fire,” “Christmas at the zoo.”
This can be returned to at any part of the day and often helps restore order to the
Games to inspire creative thinking based on a narrative structure,
As well as building the energy of the group.
A Walk in the Woods.
2-player game. Story telling as a pair by alternately speaking one word starting
with the sentence
I went for a walk in the woods and….
Rhyme Battles.
Young people are given three target words, Education, Diversity and Create.
They have four minutes to come up with lists of words that rhyme with each of the
three target words.
When the time expires the participants pair off and “Battle.”
The battle works by the two trading rhyming words,
E.g. Creation, Hesitation, Information, Indication,
The rules are then changed so as each word must be used at the end of a
They battle again.e.g.
Spoken word is all about Creation,
In the battle I speak without Hesitation,
I can give you all the Information,
Can you give me some Indication? etc.
It is about keeping the rhyme going, not about competition.
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 4 of 6
4. Writing a list poem.
(Working in self-allocated groups).
Suggested Titles: “What if?” “If I ruled the world,” “Today’s my Lucky Day,” “When
I Grow Up.”
You can also use a single word as a starting point, e.g. Chocolate, Football, Music,
Dance, Hedgehogs, Bananas, etc.
Taking a central theme to create a word-burst/spider diagram.
Take the list of words created and arrange them into an order that rhymes linked
around a “Hook” line.
If the central theme was “What If”
Then this becomes the hook line for the final list poem.
What if the sky was pink,
What if I got paid to think,
What if…….etc.
This is easily developed within a call and response model,
What if the sky was pink,
Does that mean that the rain would be red,
What if I got paid to think,
Does that mean I get cash for the thoughts in my head,
What if…….etc.
Writing note: A good idea for list poems is to try to include a mixture of funny and
serious lines. It’s always prudent to start with a joke and finish on a serious point.
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 5 of 6
5. Preparation for performance.
Garden Peas/Cellar Door. (Still in groups,)
As a group we create a list of emotions to chose from.
Each member of the group takes one of these two word phases: Garden
Peas/Cellar Door, and attempts to say it in an emotive way using one of the
emotions from the list. The rest of the group should be able to guess the emotional
Emphasis in this game is on a small change inside rather than a large change
outside and the young people should be encouraged to explore body language
before delivering their line.
Performance note: the way you breath can completely change how you are
emotionally received. i.e. short quick breaths indicate fear/panic. One long slow
breath leads towards depression/melancholy.
Returning to the list poems.
Final edits and finishing off. .
Look at different ways of saying the same
thing.eg. what if the sky was pink?- what if pink was the colour
of sky?-what if the sky was a different colour?
look for what's easiest to change: Names/colours/numbers etc.
for example My mate Dave can just as easily be my mate Simon.
Look for details than can be changed without compromising on meaning.
6. Rehearsal.
Working on ideas for the staging and performance of their poetry.
Movement and Relevant Blocking/Drama Skills.
Reinforcing the idea of the relationship between audience and performer and the
ideal of mutual respect. Clarity of delivery, changes of pace/intensity.
Emphasis on development through rehearsal, entering/exiting stage,
characterisation, movement, eye contact with audience etc.
7. Performance.
In the majority of cases all young people are engaged enough to want to perform
as part of their group and this usually takes the form of a mock “gig” hosted by the
Hosting Note: It is good practice to reinforce the idea of mutual respect and the
two-way relationship between audience and performer.
As a performer you need to engage your audience. Eye contact, clarity of speech
As an audience member you need to be respectful to the person on stage, listening
skills, applauding at the end, etc.
8. Plenary.
Thank all participants for their involvement and ask what they have enjoyed about
the session.
Q. Put up your hand if you think Poetry’s boring.
John Berkavitch – A Short List of the People I Hate – Lesson Plan
Commissioned by Apples & Snakes Ltd. www.applesandsnakes.org
page 6 of 6