Aaron Samuels is a Pushcart-nominated poet, a TEDx speaker, and an acclaimed facilitator of critical identity discussions. Raised in Providence, Rhode Island, by a Jewish-American Mother and an African-American father, Aaron discovered spoken word poetry at age 14 when his English teacher told him he was not allowed to break meter. After declining this advice, Aaron went on to become one of the premiere performance poets in the country, having performed throughout the United States alongside acclaimed musicians, poets, and speakers such as The Black Keys, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Mos Def, Ledisi, Hill Harper, Rosario Dawson, Gene Dobbs Bradford, Key & Peele, and Amber Tamblyn.
Aaron’s work has a focus on creating a critical identity discourse and has been a featured at TV One’s Verses & Flow, TEDx Washington University in St. Louis, the Louder than a Bomb Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, the Urban Word Preemptive Education Conference, and the St. Louis Amnesty International Poetry Reading.
“Aaron Samuels digs into his complex multi-ethnic identity and the complicated contradictions of the world around him with humor, keen insight, and passionate verve.” - Jeff Kass, award winning fiction writer, poet, and teacher
He is a four-time member and coach of the Providence Youth Poetry Slam Team featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices. Aaron has also coached teams in Boston, St. Louis, and Washington DC. He is a two time Brave New Voices Finalist, a College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational Finalist, and a National Poetry Slam Semi-Finalist. As a youth coach and educator, Aaron stresses the urgency for cultural dialogue, teaching writing workshops for middle schools, high schools, universities, and community organizations across the country.
Aaron Samuels is a graduate of Washington University where he founded WU-SLam, the first performance poetry collective on campus. WU-SLam is known throughout St. Louis for its work with literacy development at local high schools, juvenile detention centers, and community organizations. Under Aaron’s leadership, WU-SLam competed nationally, performing multiple times on the Final Stages of both the National Poetry Slam and College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, earning awards for Most Innovative Team, Best Group Piece, Best Poem, and Best Performance Team. WU-SLam continues to thrive to this day.
Aaron’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published in multiple journals including in the Tidal Basin Review, Apogee Journal, Mandala Journal, Sole Literary Journal, Muzzle Magazine, and Used Furniture Review. Aaron’s first book of Poetry, Mutually Assured Destruction, published on 3Ring Press, has been described as “both a personal reflection on the intersections of race and faith, and an unrelenting critique of U.S. Empire” as it dives into the confluences of race, religion, class, and gender in the modern world. His next book, Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps, will be released on Write Bloody Publishing in fall 2013.