Friday, 22 October 2010

One Stop Poetry Friday Spotlight: Larry Jaffe, Poet Laureate - Youth for Human Rights

Welcome to Dustus Friday on One Stop!

Having been a participant in One Shot Wednesday, Larry Jaffe returns to One Stop Poetry to stand in the featured spotlight. Reflecting on his recent work, I've been a fan since reading about his involvement with The Human Rights Project, for which he is poet laureate. With great respect and dignity, Larry Jaffe continues creating poetry to promote human rights.

In addition to numerous publications, Larry was the poet-in-residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, a featured poet in Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program, co-founder of Poets for Peace (now Poets for Human Rights); and he helped spearhead the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project, which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally using poetry to bring understanding to the world. Also, he was the recent recipient of the Saint Hill Art Festival’s Lifetime of Creativity Award, the first time that honor had been given to a poet.

The Human Rights Project

Larry's continual effort to promote human rights is admirable. His poetic declaration combines both activism and heartfelt creativity in The Human Rights Project.  Consider the following beginning excerpt:
ARTICLE 1... All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Dignified stars
Soaring through infinity
Autonomous born
Hands linked
in freedom
One Child Sold

Larry's most recent poetry collection is called One Child Sold.  He was nice enough to send me a copy of itIn my opinion, this work is emotionally-charged and crafted masterfully.  In One Child Sold, readers will discover poems on topics ranging from slavery and genocide to pieces that question human rights, freedom, and the exploitation of children. I highly recommend checking it out. You can learn more about One Child Sold through Salmon Poetry. It's one of the best poetry books I've read in a long time.

The poem I chose to highlight today is a personal favorite...

 We Are The Poetry They Said

An artist
puts pen to paper
rides keyboard
into sunset
A working
man’s words
fly from fingers
by class
The words
refuse to climb
socialite limbs
stay earthborn
with dreams
of flight
Desperate words
breath last breaths
and leave a void
a silence
that suffocates
– Disillusioned
by hapless
crying for resolution
for vengeance
longing for freedom
unfettered by lust
wandering freely
These unhappy words
yearned for life
and not some
We are poetry they said
We are poetry they said

"We have the potential to take this planet to great heights of culture and technology. It is the job of the artist to present mankind with an alternative to war and hate. I hope that these works help move us all in the right direction. We can no longer slip away quietly in the darkness. Our survival depends on our responsibility to others and ourselves." —Larry Jaffe

Larry's new blog is @

Visit The Human Rights Project to read all 28 Articles and poems!
Larry Jaffe on Twitter
His Facebook page

Thanks for reading.
Cheers, Adam


moondustwriter said...

Larry I have appreciated not only your writing but your drive to make a difference. I believe writers and artists were always in the forefront of change - glad to see that is still the case.

Thank you Adam for featuring this fine writer today.

Brian Miller said...

nice. keep using that voice to make a difference larry...

Myrna R. said...

It's an inspiration just knowing there is such a dedicated artist in the world. Thank you Larry for sharing your talent in a manner so noble.

Shell said...

I adore when there is substance behind/beyond words. Fabulous poem...and following now. What an impressive Spotlight, Adam.


slpmartin said...

Thanks ever for sharing these fine poems with us...truly inspirational.

Claudia said...

we are poetry they said - and poetry can make a difference!
i have high respect for larry and his human right project and i loved this poem from the first moment because it says just everything what has to be said. these unhappy words yearned for life..and life is what they breathe
thanks larry and thanks adam - this was truly inspiring!

Pete Marshall said...

i think larry is a legend..his poetry is fantastic as ishis willingness to stand for a cause and make a change...a fantastic spotlight....pete