Inua Ellam's poem, Candy Coated Unicorns And Converse All Stars, is a dark look at the plight of individuals set against violence, both of a domestic and of a general nature. One of the protagonists in the poem has been beaten by her boyfriend. Against this there are images conjured, ranging from environmental degradation through to war. Hope is offered in the form of dreams ('a candy coated unicorn') and aspiration ('we are powerful beyond measure'). In the end a possible future is imagined where the two strangers meet again when the problems have been resolved. What they share – they are both wearing similar shoes (Converse All Stars trainers) – is punned at the end with the maker's name 'Converse' turned into a verb.
You can download the student worksheet and teacher’s notes below. You can also listen to the audio and read the transcript.
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