On Tuesday, our Year 12 English A-Level students went to Stoke Poges Campus along with all the other A-Level English students from Focus schools across the UK.
The day was spent with Jacob Sam la Rose, a contemporary performance and page poet, whose collection ‘Breaking Silence’ forms part of the A-Level Language syllabus. ‘Breaking Silence’ is split into four sections: experiencing and understanding the world, identity with black and white characterisations, autobiographical elements and resolutions.
Jacob was born on the 8th June 1976 and, during his teenage years to his twenties, the Hip Hop music genre influenced him. He views music as the voice of youth, new and rebellious, so consequently Hip Hop brought a looser, freer culture into his generation. Another influence on his work is his heritage – he was born in London yet lived a life guided by his mother’s Guyanese origin. Therefore his work focuses on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the black and white stereotypical characteristics, and faith, not only in God, but also earthly power such as music.
He also writes with a difference through the layout and style of his poems. In order to break convention, he rarely uses punctuation or aligns the text to the left hand side. The most notable is his use of anagrams from the title placed at the end of every line, in the poem ‘Plummeting’.
During the day, he read out each of his poems; questions were asked by us and then he challenged our understanding of the poem. Overall, Tuesday was an awesome opportunity to ask the poet himself about the true meanings and life experiences behind his poems. This will no doubt help us hugely when studying the poetry, as well as in the exam!