Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Christal Ann Rice Cooper
May Flowers 2017

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Larry Jaffe On His Humanitarian Efforts and ONE CHILD SOLD . . .

Christal Rice Cooper

*Article 2,035 Words W/Excerpts
*All Poetry excerpts are given copyright permission by Larry Jaffe



Larry Jaffe:  A Poet At War
Liberating Each Victim As Each Page Is Read

 “There is this perfectly beautiful document created in 1948, which stated the 30 human rights that every being on this planet is entitled to.
This was the integrity of man and I decided that I was going to go "to war" to protect them. This is the war I choose to fight.”
                                                               --Larry Jaffe



Human Rights Poet Larry Jaffe, 67, had his first experience with poetry by reading Chaucer, which he described as so terrible that he stayed away from poetry until he was in college, dating his girlfriend at the time, Joyce.


 “Joyce at the time was a great literary influence.  I don’t think she realized then or knows how much she changed my life.  Up to that point poetry was beyond my comprehension, I hated it.  But I heard the muse and she was calling my name.  For some reason the brevity of words and expanse of concept just hit the right note for me.  I liked the entire concept and started thinking in 17 syllable bursts.  I loved writing haiku. For someone as undisciplined as I was, haiku was revelation.  To this day I feel and hear poetry with my fingers. It’s the rhythm I guess!” 


       Larry dropped out of college and, in 1970, worked for the underground press and antiestablishment rock magazine Zygote, published by Len Sutton, and located in a subletting office owned by friend and mentor Pete Hunter. 


It was at Zygote that he learned the tricks of the trade of all aspects of writing:  ads, writing, circulation, and layout.
“We were writing with our hearts. There was a feeling of euphoria mixed with invincibility. Then we were drugged. Somehow, that feeling of the Woodstock Generation pervaded for a while, but truly we were drugged back into yesteryear just to relive our dreams.  We lived on the largesse of the record companies, lunches and then PR conferences for dinner. And I still wrote poetry.”
In fact, the highlight of his job was not attending the press conferences, interviewing musicians or writing about music at his office, but writing poetry, which he did while on the subway.


 “I remember riding the subway after attending a press conference.  At the press conference they would give us a couple of albums in big manila envelopes.  By the time I would get back to the Zygote offices, poetry was scrawled all over the envelope.”
He moved to the west coast to San Diego and L.A. where he worked for a variety of alternative magazines, getting married in the process and having children.  He still wrote poetry but knew that it was not a career path he could pursue until his children were grown.
“Taking care of my kids was the most important thing and writing poetry wasn’t.”


In the 1990s his kids were adults and on their own, and he took his poetry writing to the next level by joining poetry groups, attending and giving poetry readings, and sending his poems out for publication.


“Basho taught me to write with simplicity. Leonard Cohen taught me to write with my heart. Langston Hughes taught me to stand up for what I care about.  Life as a poet is not so easy I’m afraid. I mean you don’t jump into it to be a millionaire I suppose but I still have aspirations.”



Soon after his switch from journalism to poetry, Larry noticed most of the monuments he saw were not dedicated to peace, but to war.  This led him on his first step toward human rights activism, to dedicate his poetry career to promote peace, and to create Poets4Peace (no longer in existence).


“There are times when you have to fight for what is right.  I do not believe you can just turn your cheek when something needs to be done.  So underneath the concept of war and peace is this thing called human rights and dignity and when you violate that, you are violating the Holy Grail so to speak. If human rights were totally in, we would not be discussing war and peace.  This is the bottom-line to life on this planet.”



War Zone

The Statue of Liberty wears a
dress of tattered barbed war
her wounds are dressed
with plastic explosives.
if they can not have liberty
no one can.

--It is very difficult to love your enemy
and simultaneously prepare for war.

Does precious balance teeter
when 3000 lives die on each side?
Is there a minimum death quota
by which we all feel avenged?

I don’t know which hurts more
the dissolution of the illusion of peace
or the pretense of being a pacifist.

Excerpt from One Child Sold:  Human Trafficking and Rights
Page 61
      
       One of Larry’s greatest lifetime experiences occurred in the year 2000, when he worked with Rattapallax Publisher Ram Devineni (http://www.rattapallax.com) in the coordination of international readings for the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry Project.



“We put together some 200 poetry readings in over 150 cities worldwide. I don’t think I slept for days as I was coordinating the readings in Europe, Asia and North America. But what a rush as the reading coordinators started checking in with me and letting me know how their readings went. One communication in particular just made my day and it was from Belgrade. One of the things we “preached” in the readings was how uplifting and healing poetry can be. My new friend Igor, wrote to me saying “You are right. This stuff really heals!”
In September of 2001 he was the Poet in Residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage now known as the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California.



 “Each month we aligned our readings with what was going on in the museum, i.e. special exhibits.  I was at the Autry during 9/11 and we had a special reading dedicated to the first responders. Several Los Angeles firemen gallantly read Auden’s poem September 1, 1939 which had become the anthem for these most solemn of days.”


In May of 2006, he was invited to the Czech Republic to do month long readings throughout the area.  While there, he visited Theresienstadt (Terezin) Concentration Camp, where 97,000 Czech Jews, including 15,000 children, were murdered.  Only 132 children came out alive from that camp.


“I had seen quite a bit in my lifetime, being that was a bit too much. I can still feel it in my fingers and in my soul.   It hit me hard.”


 This experience led him to write the first poems of his poetry collection One Child Sold:  Human Trafficking and Rights.   


He wrote “The Children of Terezin” with the famous quote by T.W. Adorno vibrating in his mind:  “There can be no poetry after Auschwitz.”  



The Children of Terezin

When I visited Camp Terezin
the children called to me
they left ethereal homes
dropped blankets
and held out their tiny hands
for me to lift them up
and hold them close.

I hugged every one of them
as they told me
of Terezin and how
their fairy-tales kept them
alive until story time was over.

I hugged every one of them
as they told me how
they painted pictures
with their fingers
dipped in their mothers’ blood.

I hugged every one of them
as they sang songs
and told me nursery rhymes

I hugged every one of them
as they told me about
the playground of graves
how they hopscotch
over tombstones
and ring around a rosey
was truth

       ashes ashes
       all fall down

only when they fell down
they never got up.

I hugged everyone one of them
even the lost soul
who crossed himself
like a gentile
when he cried.

I hugged every one of them
because the children of Terezin
no longer wait for their mothers
to call them home

Today they have been set free

Excerpt from One Child Sold Human Trafficking and Rights
Page 43-44

“Terezin, despite its horror, was very liberating for me. I could see and feel the inhumanity and oppression. I could hear the children singing. I will never forget this and even as I answer your question, the emotion surges through me. I wanted to free the memories, unburden the ghosts and thus those poems had to be there.”


In 2006, he met his mentor Mary Shuttleworth who leads
the Youth For Human Rights.



       “She is a great motivator and she fully introduced me to how, by teaching children and everyone these (30) human rights, mankind would be freer.”


Later that same year, he met his other mentor Dottie Laster founder of Laster Global Consulting.  Laster is one of the very few professionals trained by the Department of Justice to train law enforcement and others on the issues of Human Trafficking.


 “I had no emphasis on sex trafficking until I met Dottie and decided to support her. She has inspired me too fight for human rights and to fight trafficking.”
      

Human Rights Begin

Where, after all, do Universal Rights begin?  In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person; farm or officer where he works.  Such are the places where every mean, woman, and child seeks justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.  Unless these rights have meaning here; they have little meaning anywhere.
                                                          Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.



Human rights begin
with your heart
miraculously transforming
hate to love.

They begin
with your mind
inexplicably converting
fear to courage.

Human rights begin
with your fingers
astonishingly turning
violence into caresses.

They begin
with your family
evolving
ignorance into intelligence

They begin
in your neighborhood
ultimately challenging
prejudice with tolerance.

Human rights begin
wherever you are.

Excerpt from One Child Sold:  Human Trafficking and Rights
Page 17

       In 2007, Jaffe was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Saint Hill International Art Festival for his contributions in fighting human sex trafficking and preserving human rights for all.



       Former Executive Producer Sheila Gaiman presented the award:  “Each year an artist is chosen who uses their art to help their town, country, or the world.  Larry is the first artist selected to be working for the safety of the entire planet and we very much want to encourage this and are very proud of his work.”


       Three years later, on February 22, 2010, One Child Sold: Human Trafficking and Rights was published by Salmon Press.


Most of the poems of One Child Sold are dedicated to the horrors of human sex trafficking with the number one goal to liberate each victim as each poem is read.  


The cover was designed by designer Gracia Bennish, who shared Jaffe’s number one goal:  We wanted a picture that would create much emotional impact. I think she accomplished that.”


Wearing Tragedy

Her face is painted the color of heartbreak.
She wears the tragedy of mothers of dead children.
She dresses in the color of mothers of the lost.
Milk spills from her full breasts.
She is nondenominational.

Excerpt from One Child Sold:  Human Trafficking and Rights
Page 36

       Since then Larry’s poetry on human rights has been published by numerous magazines, including Quill & Parchment, which featured Larry Jaffe as their featured poet for the February 2015 issue.  Surprisingly, Jaffe did not write poems on sex trafficking and its victims, but on love.


“How can I write about human rights without writing about love? Loving humanity is of utmost importance, despite the foibles, the evils, etc. Man is basically good. You have to see past all that stuff and see the soul, the spirit, the being. Then all you can have is love.”


Jaffe and his wife Shelley have a blended family: son Devon and daughter-in-law Heather; two daughters, Amber and Willow; two stepdaughters Amanda and Megan; and three grandsons Rocky, Giovanni, and Nicco.  





They split their time between his home state of New York and Clearwater, Florida where the couple share their own studio at the Clearwater Center For The Arts.
www.CWCenterForTheArts.org



Photograph Description And Copyright Info

Photo 1, 2, 4,
Larry Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 3
Chaucer
1300s
Public Domain

Photo 5
1970 jacket cover of the magazine Zygote.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law 

Photo 6
Passengers aboard the NYC Subway on Lexington Avenue on December 2, 1970.
Attributed to Environmental Protection Agency.
Public Domain

Photo 8
Larry holding his daughter Amber
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 9
Statue of Basho
Public Domain

Photo 10
Leonard Cohen in Geneva
2008
CC by SA 2.0

Photo 11
Langston Hughes in 1936
Attributed to Carl Van Vechten
Public Domain

Photo 12
Poets4Peace web logo
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 13
Human rights web logo
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 14
Ram Devineni
Web photo
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 15
UNESCO web logo
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 16
Joyce Carol Oats participating in the UNESCO Dialogue Among Civilizations through Poetry Project readings.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 17
Yusef Komunyakaa participating in the UNESCO Dialogue Among Civilizations through Poetry Project readings.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright La

Photo 18
Web logo for the Autry National Center
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 19
W.H. Auden in 1939
Public Domain

Photo 20
Larry Jaffe giving a poetry reading in the Czech Republic in May of 2006
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 21
The Terezin Concentration Camp
Attributed to Larry Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 22
T.W. Adorno
Public Domain

Photo 23
Memorial to 115,000 lives lost at the Terezin Concentration Camp
Public Domain

Photo 24
The Terezin Concentration Camp
Attributed to Larry Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 25
Web logo for Youth for Human Rights International
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 26
Web photograph of Mary Shuttleworth
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 27
Web logo for Laster Global Consulting
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 28
Web photo Dottie Laster
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 29
Eleanor Roosevelt speaking before the United Nations
July of 1947
Public Domain

Photo 30
Saint Hill International Art Festival web logo
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 31
Larry Jaffe’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Attributed to Larry Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 32.
Web photo of Sheila Gaiman
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 33.
Web logo for Salmon Poetry
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 34.
Jacket cover of Child Sold:  Human Trafficking And Rights.
Attributed to Gracia Bennish
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 35
Web logo for Gracia Bennish’s webpage
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 36
Web photo of Gracia Bennish
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 37
Web logo for Quill & Parchment
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 38
Shelley and Larry Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 39
Larry’s son Devon, Larry’s father, and Larry
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 40
Amber Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe

Photo 41
Willow Jaffe
Copyright granted by Larry Jaffe.

Photo 42.
Web logo for Clearwater Center For the Arts

Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

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