Q: You seem so very involved, heart and soul, in so many poetry projects. How did you start writing and pouring yourself into poetic endeavors?
Larry: Well I woke up one morning and realized I was a
poet and this is what a poet does. I am not kidding. It is a good thing.
When I left college oh so many years ago, I left to be a poet. Unfortunately,
there were not a lot of poet jobs available, I did not find anything in
the classified despite looking every day. On the plus side, I made my
first chapbooks, typing into my Royal Futura portable typewriter with
and then binding them with thread. This was an amazing accomplishment.
They did not earn me much money, but I made many friends. I surely wish
I had one of those now. I felt like I was living my life as a poet.
Q: What is Poets4Peace? Why did you start it? What projects are currently happening there?
Larry: I started p4p
in 1997 as an attempt and I think a valid one to balance out the b.s both
online and in the world. It is not a magazine or a poetry site like others.
I see it as a memorial to peace there are so many for war. I wanted to
build such a thing and even envisioned a true memorial to peace built
out in the real world. Right now the only way to manifest that within
my power is the site and the series of readings (over 50) that we have
coordinated. Peace is not an act of war in reverse. Peace is both an individual
and community effort. In my reality peace has nothing to do with war,
it is a state of being. Individuals who are at peace lead to groups that
are at peace, etc.
Q: What is Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry? How can people get involved?
Larry: This is a very exciting and dynamic program that I am thrilled to be part of. My partner in this Ram Devenini in New York worked with UNESCO to create the first Dialogue Readings which aligned with a United Nations mandate, Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry. It is very unifying and puts us in the unique position to change peoples perceptions about poetry around the world and make it a vital part of their lives. There is much more info on the web site (www.dialoguepoetry.org) than I can write here and participation is quite simple just go to the site and let us know what you want to do. In brief, last march we were blessed to experience the literal blossoming of poetry across the globe with readings from the Antarctic to Australia, from Moscow to Tokyo, from Belgrade to Boston. It was an unprecedented event with over 200 readings in some 150 cities worldwide. As the readings coordinator, it was one of the most thrilling events I have ever been involved with. And now we are about to do it again and if possible even better with more promotion, more materials and believe it or not more readings.
Q: Your own website lgjaffe.com is very interesting. How did you first decide to get online with your works?
Larry: I have been very active online for quite sometime.
I found that as a poet I could reach people directly without
the middleman so to speak and this was fascinating to me and frankly deeply
satisfying. I get a plethora of email about my work from real folks who
find it to their liking. In many ways being online rejuvenated my goal
to be a poet and it is being realized.
Q: Your silent poem Poetry of Light is really awesome. What's the story behind the poem? What kind of technology did you use to create that? Why did you decide to create it in this way?
Larry: Thank you Kara, I have been on a quest as you have seen in my latest attempt with Amateur Poetry Models and DymoPo. The Poetry of Light has its origins in my roots of guerilla poetry. This goes way back where I would print poetry on cheap fliers and put them under the windshield wipers of automobiles. I wanted the poetry to look like commerce so that people would unknowingly read it thinking it an ad when it was poetry. I also stenciled poems on the streets (short short poems). PofL derives from that stencil feeling. I want to be able to show my poetry in art galleries, not simply to perform it but it have the physical qualities of art and not in a book. Again I want to bring my poetry to life make it into living words.
I like to use beaurocratic tools for art. Similar to what I started with the fliers. Using common off the shelf things to create art. Even typically officious things like the Dymolabeler or PowerPoint which is what I used to create the Poetry of Light series. It is designed to be projected on gallery walls.
Q: On your own site (lgjaffe.com) you have a section called Tabula Rasa. Why do you call it that? How often do you add works to that?
Larry: Well TR is blank slate. It is what confronts every poet. I am using that section to have only my latest poetry and showcase it. Unfortunately, I do not update it often enough but am making a determined effort to do so. A lot of folks stop by my site I always want to continually surprise them with various works.
Q: Your works are great inspirations to me personally for seeing a poet who is truly workin' it in so many different ways. How did you learn the business of your art?
Larry: This is indeed a good question. Boy you sure are
making me think. Lol. Well I have had to learn things the hard way I guess.
As I told you I dropped out of school
to be a poet and found myself needing to write for a living. I wrote for
alternative media for a couple years learning the ins and outs of putting
together a publication. These were always communal efforts, you learned
paste up and layout and circulation and advertising because you had to.
No one else was going to do it. You learned to work as a team, sometimes
concentrating on what you did best, but when it came to getting the rag
out you just did what you had to do. So that gave me a very strong foundation
for what it takes to bring something to market. Over the years I expanded
those skills, unfortunately not marketing my art but more commercial things.
So now when I look at my work and this is not an easy transition, I try
to treat myself as a client, wearing a different hat, looking out as to
how best to market Larry Jaffe and I tell you he is not very easy to work
with, very picky you know.
Q: Is there one thing in particular that has surprised you about the projects and writing that you are doing? Or one thing in particular that you are especially proud of? Why did it surprise you or make you proud?
Larry: This is a very simple answer. I am most proud of
touching people whether it be with my poetry or with a project like the
Among Civilizations Through Poetry program.
Q: Are there books and recordings of your works available? How can our readers get a hold of copies of these?
Ron: Yes there are. I have 4 books currently available and one CD. Folks can write to me directly right now firstname.lastname@example.org. Am still working on some distribution aspects and onsite ordering.
Q: As a poet, where do you see your art leading you in the next year, 5 years, 10 years? Where do you see the business of your art leading you?
Larry: As an artist as a poet, I want to hone my craft
to the best of my abilities. I
am always always reading other poets. Right now I am in this funky Frank
Ohara mode. I learn by reading and listening. So foremost is improving
Editor's Note: Please page thru this issue of the KotaPress Poetry
Journal to see Larry's poems featured!