Poet Jacob Sam-La Rose in Dover Castle

Introducing Our new Poet-in-Residence

We’re thrilled to have Jacob Sam-La Rose as our poet-in-residence for the next year. Jacob is one of the country’s most inspirational poets and is passionate about poetry as a tool for education and interaction. His work has been published in numerous anthologies, and he’s held workshops at schools and universities worldwide. Jacob also works as a programme director for organisations such as the Barbican. Read on to find out more about his role at our sites this year and for his poetry-writing tips.

Portrait of the poet Jacob Sam-La Rose


Jacob will be using some of our sites as inspiration for poetry, with the aim of creating a brand new body of work. He’ll also be commissioning work from other poets as well as working with visitors on writing their own poems, creating a vision of English identity and history from a range of different viewpoints.

As part of our Shout Out Loud programme, Jacob will work with young people to travel to sites across the country and create responses to what they see.  There will be lots of opportunities for Members to get involved with Jacob’s role, including workshops and competitions. Keep an eye on the events page on the website for further details during the year.

Two women on a sofa


1 To write poetry, you need to read it
When I started to take poetry seriously, I went to the Poetry Library on the South Bank in London and read everything I could put my hands on. There was a lot there that I didn’t appreciate or even understand, but making the effort to engage with that work helped me to appreciate the relations between what I wanted to do with my writing and what I didn’t want to do with my writing. It also helped me to appreciate that there are so many different ways of writing poems.

2 Find a way to get someone else’s thoughts on your writing 
Feedback can be really useful, even if you ultimately reject it. It helps if you avoid asking someone if they like your poem but instead ask what a particular line or image meant to them.

View of a desk including a typewriter

3 Don’t just think of the poem as something you’re trying to show someone else
Listen out for what the poem is trying to tell you. Every poem is an opportunity to discover something.

4 Be true to your own voice 
There’s value in emulating the poems you might admire but there’s a lot of power in the language you use every day. 

5 Try on a different perspective for size 
What happens when you try to write the poem from the perspective of someone (or even something) else in the scene or the moment you’re writing about?


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