Jacob Sam-La Rose has been described as 'a one-man literary industry'. This was Patrick Neate's comment on the BBC Poetry Season website: 'Passionate about poetry and its power to change people's lives, he's a lesson to us all. He's also a damn fine writer.' Already well-known on the UK performance circuit, Sam-La Rose has also spent many years working with young people in schools and communities, especially around London. So it will come as a surprise to many that Breaking Silence is his first book-length collection of poetry. It is a collection that sits on the threshold between the personal and the profound, with eyes on race and dual heritage; masculinity and manhood; definitions and senses of self. Above all, it's a collection that's invested in the power of the voice, in the work of giving a voice to issues and entities that would otherwise remain silent. It speaks on divides, from the spaces in between. Jacob Sam-La Rose's work is grounded in a belief that poetry can be a powerful force within a community, and that it's possible to combine the immediacy of poetry in performance with formal rigour and innovation on the page.
Jacob Sam-La Rose was born in London in 1976. He was managing director of a web development studio before becoming a freelance writer and editor. He is the Artistic Director of the London Teenage Poetry SLAM, and an editor for flipped eye press. He also facilitates a range of literature-in-education, creative writing and spoken word programmes through schools, arts centres and other institutions. His work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets (Bloodaxe), Poems For Love (Penguin), I Have Found a Song (Enitharmon Press), Red (Peepal Tree), Learn Then Burn: The Ultimate Poetry Guide for the High School or College Classroom (Write Bloody) and Michael Rosen's A-Z: The Best Children's Poetry from Agard to Zephaniah (Puffin). His pamphlet Communion was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice in 2006. Breaking Silence (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) is his first book-length collection.