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Foreword

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Hello. I’m Jacob Sam-La Rose, and here’s what you need to know: I’m a published poet; I devise and facilitate projects for schools and other institutions, emerging poets, teachers, literature professionals and other creatives; I’m a geek for web technology and productivity; and I’m pretty handy with a camera. I exist in a few different places online – this particular site serves as my lifestream, an overview of what I’ve been doing on the interwebs. The content you see here is aggregated from:

If any of the above sparks your interest, don’t be shy in saying hello (mail at jacobsamlarose dot com).

Apr 13

““as computers get better at thinking like us and shaping our behavior,” Leon Neyfakh wrote,…”

““as computers get better at thinking like us and shaping our behavior,” Leon Neyfakh wrote, “they can also be rewired to spring us free.” @YouAreCarrying is proof of that maxim and replaces usefulness with creativity. Just as the Surrealists deployed the “Exquisite Corpse” to spark their imaginations, Vestal sees a similar purpose. “It helps kickstart people’s imagination,” Vestal says. “How do I get to this point where I have an aspirin, a subatomic drive and the Elven sword of antiquity?” There is no answer, but the indiscernibility is part of @YouAreCarrying’s mission. It’s a prompt to ponder and encourages one to solicit others for feedback. “People want to share what they’re carrying,” Vestal says. “It’s like opening up a present on Christmas day.” And what a strange and glorious Christmas that must be.”

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Twitter bot turns text adventures inventories into a sea of creativity - Kill Screen - Videogame Arts & Culture.

CHALLENGE: Tweet “i” or “inventory” to @YouAreCarrying and write a poem that includes/references the items you get back. Double dare ya.

Oh, and holler back if you actually do.

Jul 11

madewithpaper: Capture Summer Memories With Book. This summer,…



madewithpaper:

Capture Summer Memories With Book.

This summer, we’re celebrating Book’s Gold IDEA win with a special discounted price of $25 (orig. $40). Capture your favorite summer memories in Paper and make a beautiful, custom-printed book right from the app.

Book is available worldwide. Download Paper for free to get started.

Oh wait— Paper—>Book now? When did this happen!? BRB— got books to make…

Jul 10

“Race was naive enough to think that dyeing her hair was enough to alter the pigment of her name, the…”

“Race was naive enough to think that dyeing her hair was enough to alter the pigment of her name, the nature of her shadow. She tried lime green to generate more zest, a fiery red to suggest deep-seated passions, even black, for that laid back retro look. But nothing changed. People walked past her on the street, eyes averted, clasping their gaudy shopping bags watchfully. In school she sat in the corners, hoping to blend in with the cracked paint. Her lovers continued to call her by other names when making love. In the dark, and in the throes of ecstasy, they claimed, everyone looked the same. It was easy to be confused, Race was not convinced. She felt different inside, a place where moonlight could not reach. She tried using a microscope, a DNA test, her rose-tinted glasses, but could not figure out why the softly pulsing engine of her being remained invisible to her. Did she not have a name? A history? And did she not buy her own clothes with money she earned the same way as everyone else? Disappointed, Race realised that her should was not the sum of her choices, nor her genes a composite of caresses and strokes leading up to her conception. She envied her friends, the purity of their obliviousness, how they wore their hair casually long and streaked with gold, gleaming against their skin beneath, gleaming agains their skin, beneath which the blood coursed, without question, like a final answer. She wondered if she peeled back their flesh, unhinged the bone, eased apart the knotted sinews, whether she should also find nothingness there: a space worn away in the shape of their own silence; what colour it must be.”

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- “Race”, What Gives Us Our Names by Alvin Pang

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll have heard me mention Alvin before. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, I’m happy for you— it means you have a joyous discovery ahead. That said, don’t delay…

Jul 9

“Technology has made different kinds of poets out of us. Together we sing ghost songs. We have…”

“Technology has made different kinds of poets out of us. Together we sing ghost songs. We have haunted mouths, and speaking flesh. Together we imagine impossible things that I can write, but not make. Together we make things that I cannot imagine. We barter noisily like grandmothers. Because I am a writer, and trade in poetry, so I tempt technology to do the same.”

- Jools Gilson-Ellis
Jul 8

“Your language is the code which writes your software which is your thinking which manages your…”

“Your language is the code which writes your software which is your thinking which manages your behaviour.”

- Pause&Consider 101: the next ten - Nicholas Bate
Jul 7

“Your language is the code which writes your software which is your thinking which manages your…”

“Your language is the code which writes your software which is your thinking which manages your behaviour.”

- Pause&Consider 101: the next ten - Nicholas Bate
Jul 7

Pardon my handwriting. ;)



Pardon my handwriting. ;)

Jul 6

Late night experiments with D3.js powered poetry, and a word…



Late night experiments with D3.js powered poetry, and a word tree tool developed by Jason Davies. Going to have to acquire some new coding skills soon. Bring it on…

Jul 4

“You want to be in a spot where you can respond to the world. If an idea hits you, then you can do it…”

“You want to be in a spot where you can respond to the world. If an idea hits you, then you can do it in some form…you don’t need permission from anyone to do awesome things. All you need is the time and space to work on it.”

- Frank Chimero on The Great Discontent (TGD)
Jun 29

“The author suggests that, in this world of limited attention spans, the serious writer may have to…”

“The author suggests that, in this world of limited attention spans, the serious writer may have to parcel out his or her writing into shorter sections or volumes, in order for anything like the eloquent and verbose reading of prior eras to remain. An idea worth considering: could this trend toward short reads give rise to a deeper appreciation of poetry in the future? It’s thought-provoking and often mind-taxing, true—but it’s short. Or at least, some of it is. It would be interesting to see whether poetry makes a comeback in the future.”

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Reading & the “Attention War” | The American Conservative

Uh, comeback? I know poetry isn’t considered a “mainstream” concern, but comeback? Hm.

Jun 28

“I am always reading, always, and tons of things at once. I wouldn’t say I’m a voracious reader,…”

“I am always reading, always, and tons of things at once. I wouldn’t say I’m a voracious reader, though. I never finish books that fast, because I’m always reading so many things at once. I dip in, dip out, dip back in, sometimes never dip back in… I think my brain is full of collisions and that’s how I like to read and process information. I’m always comparing things and I think I do that subconsciously when I’m reading books of poetry.”

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Victoria Chang, via The Believer Logger: Colin Winnette in Conversation with Victoria Chang

This.

Jun 27

“For years I’ve maintained a personal credo that I’ll give pretty much any person starting out in our…”

“For years I’ve maintained a personal credo that I’ll give pretty much any person starting out in our field 30 minutes of my time, if they have the wherewithal to come and ask for it. (Don’t all ask at once, now.) Usually that means a phone call or an email exchange. Sometimes I’ll meet for coffee, given my schedule and availability. I certainly don’t feel compelled to help out every person who comes my way looking for advice, and I tailor my response to the query (a thoughtful email gets a better reply than a tweet) but I make a genuine effort to say “yes” to people who are just starting out. A few years ago I described this policy to a colleague. I remember him saying “I would never do that, it doesn’t seem like it would be worth it.” Not everything in our professional lives is a transaction, scrutinized and evaluated against how much it costs us, how much someone should pay. Not every teaching relationship must be formalized—a mentoring opportunity, a coach, an internship. Not every investment of time has to be “worth it.” Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not? You never know what will come of it. I can’t thank the guy who took the time to meet me for coffee. But I can pay it forward by trying to help other people in a small, vanishingly insignificant way. And if some day, I help someone in a way that changes the very course of their life? I might never even know. The payback I would want isn’t one billable hour or a free sandwich or even their grateful thanks. I don’t even care if they remember my name. I’d rather they pick up the phone and talk to some future 23-year-old when she asks.”

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Pay it forward — Medium (via http://twitter.com/rogre)

Yes. I value my time in a different way now— it’s a more of a challenge to stay on top of all the demands— but I still do my best to support emerging literature professionals and poets wherever I can, above and beyond any of the formal relationships, roles or initiatives that I’m paid for. I’m least responsive when it comes to Facebook messages; direct email is best, but please forgive if it takes a minute for me to respond.

Also: yes. I’d be happy to hear that the people I’ve had any kind of positive impact on pay that impact forward, that they go on to support others in similar ways. You never know (unless told), but you can hope. And believe. And carry on, regardless.

Jun 26

“These days I write more than I code, but one of the things I miss about programming is the coder’s…”

These days I write more than I code, but one of the things I miss about programming is the coder’s high: those times when, for hours on end, I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that my co-workers and I were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while I was staring at the screen, thinking and typing, until I’d reach the point of exhaustion and it would come crashing down on me.

It was good for me, too. Coding had a smoothing, calming effect on my psyche, what I imagine meditation does to you if you master it. In his study Zen and the Brain, neuroscientist James H. Austin speaks of how one’s attention will shift into “a vacancy of utmost clarity, a space so devoid of the physical self.”



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Coder’s high: The intense feeling of absorption exclusive to programmers.

Ah. Coding. *nostalgia

Jun 25

“Ending his talk, Cramer has an important question for the audience: why do publishers tend to stick…”

“Ending his talk, Cramer has an important question for the audience: why do publishers tend to stick to the traditional formats of publishing even when they move to e-publishing? He gave the example of poetry books. Traditionally, poetry is published as poetry volumes because it is the only economical way of printing, distributing and selling it. With e-publishing however, it is possible to sell single poems. The same is true for exhibition catalogues. He gave the recent example of Stedelijk Museum, the Dutch contemporary art museum. It would have made no sense to publish its 200-page collection highlights catalogue as one e-book. But e-publishing makes it possible to turn each monographic chapter on an individual artwork into a mini-epub of its own, and to allow readers to choose what they want to explore and read.”

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Florian Cramer: Electronic publishing in the arts – what works and what doesn’t | DIGITAL PUBLISHING TOOLKIT for the Arts and Culture

Yes to innovation and exploring the freedoms (or new limitations?) afforded by new formats. That said, as put forward earlier in the same article: “most publishers are small, have low budgets and could not maintain these standards on a continuous basis as software quickly needs upgrading.”

Jun 24

Two-Minute Personality Test by Jonathan Safran Foer

What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look though your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?

Jun 23

“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”

“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”

- Paulo Coelho (via psychleanings)
Jun 15

“Art, be it poetry, music, sculpture, puppetry—the whole of it, inspires change on a personal level…”

“Art, be it poetry, music, sculpture, puppetry—the whole of it, inspires change on a personal level rather than a global one. This is important because the individual is the whole. The creation of art argues that people are connected, ideas are connected, the past and future are connected by this moment. Meanwhile, exploitation of the poor, drone strikes that kill hundreds of children, slavery, genocide, land theft—these are all acts that depend upon convincing large groups of usually well-meaning people that “they are not us.” Dean Young once said, “The highest accomplishment of the human consciousness is the imagination, and the highest accomplishment of the imagination is empathy.” Poetry, along with every other art, is a tool for teaching and expanding empathy. Violence and injustice cannot endure empathy.”

- A NORMAL INTERVIEW WITH JAMAAL MAY | The Normal School: A Literary Magazine
Jun 14

James Victore (by Like Knows Like) Lots of love for this…



James Victore (by Like Knows Like)

Lots of love for this series, but this particular feature on James Victore resonates. Maybe it’s the story of the artist-educator. Maybe it’s the James Joyce quote: “In the particular lies the universal”, with which I can push the poets I work with for more specificity (always more specificity…)

Or maybe it’s the acknowledgement of the need to connect with what your real drivers are and create the work that NEEDS to be created. I’ve said it to a couple of people already, but I’ve hit that five year bar. I’ve come upon a natural life cycle— every five years, I work through my project list and remove the things that are no longer in line with my current purpose. The last cull happened in 2009, so I’m about due. Make the work that NEEDS to be made. Sounds like a good driver to me…

Jun 13

“Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.”

“Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.”

- Jean Paul Sartre, from The Selected Essays (via killheji)
Jun 12

Q&A with Paul Muldoon

THE: You once said: “For whatever reason, people, including very well-educated people or people otherwise interested in reading, do not read poetry.” Is this still true?
PAUL MULDOON: I believe so. Poetry is still too often perceived as being too difficult for the common man. That’s partly because we expect to be able to read poetry without being educated in it. We don’t have the same expectations of astrophysics, aeronautical engineering, algebra or even making a passable avgolemono.

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THE: What advice would you give to your younger self?
PAUL MULDOON: Don’t give up the piano lessons.

THE: What are the best and worst things about your job?
PAUL MULDOON: I have several jobs but, in terms of the teaching, I consider it a privilege to work with students. I can’t bear teachers who complain about their jobs. More often than not, they’ve no idea how lucky they are. I know it’s a truism, but I definitely learn from my students. I sometimes teach translation, for example, and I have been introduced by my students to whole swathes of literature I simply wouldn’t have known about.
Jun 11