Hello. I’m Jacob Sam-La Rose. I’m the author of Breaking Silence and Communion. My working hours are distributed between poetry, literature in education, experiments with creative technology and community architecture. I exist in a number of different places online— this site serves as an aggregator, an overview of the various different strands of my web-based activity. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about any of my work.
Tunisia, Hammamet Conference: the person currently speaking is someone I went to school with. Haven’t seen him for 20 years and we just happened to bump into each other here. He’s the Chief Information Officer and co-founder of a leading e-commerce software as a service company. Apart from the serendipity of bumping into an old schoolmate, the difference between our sectors stands as an example of the range of delegates and leaders that the conference has brought together… Visions for better futures, political and economic reform through engagement, meeting citizens’ needs to overcome inequality, “arts and culture” as a driver of change, social innovation and entrepreneurship, and more, all under this roof.
When all else fails, the sea remains.
Wrapped up a project today in Saltburn. Carmen Marcus and The Book of Godless Verse— powerful, innovative work, with really strong potential future developments in performance, digital and print formats. Looking forward to what comes next. (at Saltburn Beach)
Notes from a Barbican Poetry workshop in response to The Gulch (Bedwyr Williams).
1: I use Post-It notes a lot more in workshopping these days.
2: Post-It notes and crossover/cross-pollination of perspective. As facilitator, I can supply stimulus and turns, twists or embellishments, and largely that’s been my role in the room. But what more do you gain when you can draw upon the poetic faculties (ways of seeing) offered up by all the people in the room, particularly when we’re all observing and responding to the same thing?
3: The challenge here was to collect images, fascinations, questions and titles (for poems as yet unwritten) evoked by the exhibition. Then to select a note that someone else had added to the table to include somehow in the next draft of your piece. Or to write the piece suggested by a marriage of two or three notes from the table.
4: Your turn. Pick one, two or three of these notes. Use them as stepping stones (with thanks to the poets who authored them), but fall in the river as you go. Write.
I’m currently running a few scripts on my laptop that add a few random notes to my daily task list for me to review. The notes are drawn from a folder of my own plain text journal entries, logs and drafts of poems or potential blog posts, but also from a few of my Evernote notebooks. As a daily practice, it’s proving to be a rather excellent way to refresh my memory of things that I’ve archived, to experience again the value of those bits of knowledge or thinking, and/or to consider some old writing in a completely different context. I may bore you with the technical details in another post, but today, serendipity served up a note I’d made a year ago that has peculiar significance to a meeting I’m going to have later his afternoon, and also the above linked Macdrifter post from 2014, which simply made me smile.
I’m enjoying the idea of engineering more opportunities for serendipity and good fortune in my everyday routines, and it has to be said— technology (even the kind of lo-fi tech I’m cobbling together at the moment) so often feels like magic.
Just finished: Creative Mornings, London. Stefanie Posavec on the weirdness of information design and hand-drawn data visualisation. Yes. (at Second Home)
Interfaces Monthly— listening to Patrick Tresset talk about generative art and building/programming robots that draw… (at The Trampery)
via The Eighty-Eight (“an adventurous magazine for the occasional thinker.”)
Working on something with these guys. You might be interested. We’ll let you know more soon…
Arrived home after a long day of meetings and administrative inbox wrangling to find this lovely gift package. I have the joy of working with some truly fantastic human beings, and it’s always a joy to see what they’ve been up to. Thank you, Miriam. 😉
Flashback to the BYP showcase. Doesn’t represent the whole crew, but it’s a nice one, nonetheless. (@amaalsaid on photog duties – big up.)
“According to Haslam, the stronger the prod, the less likely a participant was to go along with the study, to the point where, once they were told they “have no other choice,” 0% of the participants would continue. According to Haslam, telling a person they have no say in a matter compels them toward complete disobedience. Considering how many classrooms have teacher-decreed “because I said so” rules and how many schools have “zero tolerance” discipline policies, Haslam’s assertion has dangerous consequences for student behavior. The more we restrict student choice and agency, the less willing they are to obey. Perhaps this connects with common complaints of students accused of being “unmotivated” — that term is often a euphemism for “noncompliant”.”
– Also from the same post (and more to the spirit of the whole piece): “As educators, we must help our students learn to question how their devices, tools, technologies, apps, and games help connect them or control them; how those things collect and share their data; how their free apps and services turn them (or their data) into a commodity as a form of payment.”
Also from the same post (and more to the spirit of the whole piece):
“As educators, we must help our students learn to question how their devices, tools, technologies, apps, and games help connect them or control them; how those things collect and share their data; how their free apps and services turn them (or their data) into a commodity as a form of payment.”
“Sitting down and getting my hand moving with a pencil/pen usually leads to something that leads to something else, and then I’m working. There’s rarely a bolt from the blue. Discipline (showing up regularly and often) intersects with play (screwing around with different elements, improvising) and creates the work.”
– Andrea Tsurumi: You’ll Never Have “Enough Time” – 99U
Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems 1965-1975
“A modern day Prometheus or creator must find a way to sell the fire they’ve found to the world. The challenge is to do it safely, in their lifetime, capture a portion of the value, and escape the wrath of an angry and violent mob in the process.”
– Chad J Grills
“The ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life.”
There are monsters in the blank spaces in the map,
too many men ruining the world,
mothers weaving together the stems of days,
and obeah is just a sick beat to dance to.
I hear you learned the 99 names of God,
one that robs you blind,
strange, and familiar.
God’s needlework, fading—
Its ticking reassures you that it’s still alive.
Grief is black.
How you measure loss, the burn in your tongue,
your throat. What is poetry if not a prayer?
I’ve been hosting Walthamstow Garden Party’s Earthly Paradise tent today (this post from backstage between sets— gotta love mobile tech…) Above, a collage-work of some of the lines I’ve heard today that have wormed their way into my thoughts…
“More importantly, be responsible for yourself first. As Jerry likes to say, go on a continuous journey of radical self-inquiry. Understand yourself. Learn about yourself. Take care of yourself. Be responsible for yourself. Only then can you be constructively responsible for others and things around you.”
This process, beginning to end takes about 3-5 minutes. I’ve done it hundreds of times since November, and now have a library of stuff which produces neat connections about half the time I use it. It took a long time to get here, a lot of work, but I am not kidding when I say it’s a superpower. Or as I said to David Wiley a while back, “My main pitch for this thing is this — it’s made me smarter. A lot smarter.“
It does that by forcing me to suspend my reaction to things until I’ve summarized them and connected them to previous knowledge. It forces me to confront contradictions between new knowledge and previous knowledge, and see unexpected parallels across multiple domains. It forces me to constantly review, rehearse, revise, and update old knowledge.
What do other social media solutions do? They allow you to comment on it, to share it. They ask you to react immediately, preferably with a quick opinion. They push you to always look at the new — never connect or revisit the old. They treat your reaction — your feelings about the thing — as the center of your media universe.
Can any of this be good for learning? For empathy? For innovation?
– I found Mike Caulfield’s site recently through a bit of research on knowledge management and note-making. If you have any interest in commonplace notebooks (dear writer— I’m looking at you) and how to supercharge your repository of digital note-based thinking1, you’ll benefit from keeping an eye on his blog. Before you angrily wave your fancy Moleskine or Muji notebook at me, consider this as more of an extension of your handwritten workflow, rather than a replacement. ↩
I found Mike Caulfield’s site recently through a bit of research on knowledge management and note-making. If you have any interest in commonplace notebooks (dear writer— I’m looking at you) and how to supercharge your repository of digital note-based thinking1, you’ll benefit from keeping an eye on his blog.
Before you angrily wave your fancy Moleskine or Muji notebook at me, consider this as more of an extension of your handwritten workflow, rather than a replacement. ↩