Interviewer vs. Interviewer

Interviewer vs. Interviewer
( Click on picture to view) Elizabeth Lund--Host of Poetic Lines interviews Host of Poet to Poet-- Doug Holder

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Nov. 22, 2020 Doug Holder interviews poet Durane West


I am going to be interviewing poet Durane West this afternoon at 3PM.

He writes:

I write spoken word poetry that paints the perspective of an innercity black boy from Boston, MA. Raised in the city, he went to Boston Public Schools through high school. Winner of the Max Warburg Courage Essay Contest in 2001, Durane has been a frequent member of open mic scenes since 2017. He has performed at local spots like Haley House, Lizard Lounge, and Cantab Lounge among others. He is currently working toward creating his first chapbook. A former tour guide at Fenway Park, Durane works for an education non-profit that supports BPS students."

Friday, November 13, 2020

Doug Holder Interviews Outlaw Memorist, Poet and Editor Alan Kaufman Sat Nov. 14, 2020 3PM


Alan Kaufman, born January 12, 1952, in New York City to a French Holocaust survivor and raised in the Bronx, is a teacher, writer, poet, editor, performer, artist, and impresario known for his work as editor of the Outlaw Bible series of literary anthologies. In addition to his editorial work on these books and the alternative Jewish cultural magazine Davka , which he helped to found, Kaufman is also the author of a memoir, Jew Boy (2000), and the novel Matches (2005) as well as several volumes of poetry. Active as a poet from an early age, Kaufman has been involved in both the New York and San Francisco poetry scenes and played a role in the popularization of Spoken Word poetry in both the United States and abroad. More recently, Kaufman has taken up the brush as a painter, a medium in which he has proven equally productive.

A prolific writer from an early age, Kaufman both edited and published in the Magpie , the literature and arts journal of DeWitt Clinton High School. After graduating high school in 1970, Kaufman enrolled at the City College of New York. In 1971, Kaufman traveled across the United States by riding freight trains. In the course of his travels, he was arrested in North Platte, Nebraska, and was the victim of anti-Semitic slurs by his jailers, an event that profoundly affected him. Returning to New York, Kaufman began a life-long exploration of his Jewish heritage and identity. One of the first tangible results was Kaufman's founding of the Jewish Arts Quarterly , the first issue of which appeared in 1974.

After graduating from CCNY in 1975, Kaufman started to publish his short stories. In 1977, Kaufman moved to Israel where he lived and worked on a Kibbutz. He also became a contributing editor to the magazine Shdemot . In 1979, he became an Israeli citizen and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). During his initial service, he helped start the IDF Journal , the first English language journal published by the IDF. When his enlistment ended in 1984, Kaufman returned to the United States. The same year, his first book, a collection of short stories titled The End of Time , appeared.

Accepted into the Columbia University Writer's Program in 1986, Kaufman soon after published his first edited anthology, The New Generation: Fiction for Our Time from America's Writing Programs . He also began to create drawings around this same time. In 1988, he became editor-in-chief of the Jewish Frontier , married Esther Murray, and had a daughter, Isadora. Kaufman left Columbia in 1989 and separated from his wife, who moved to Israel with their daughter. After becoming involved with the New York underground poetry scene at the Nuyorican Poet's Café, Kaufman moved to San Francisco in 1990. Once there, he quickly became engaged in the Spoken Word poetry scene at the legendary Café Babar and published his first collection of poetry, American Cruiser . Kaufman chronicled his thoughts and experiences of the emerging Spoken Word poetry movement in a series of articles for HOWL: San Francisco Poetry News . His growing prominence led, in 1992, to his first Spoken Word tour of Germany with poet Bob Holman. He returned two more times over the next few years, once with a larger group of poets in 1993 and again in 1994 with Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, and others as part of the Berlin Jewish Cultural Festival. Despite his international presence, Kaufman remained committed to the San Francisco scene. In 1993, after police shut down a poetry reading, Kaufman helped to lead the San Francisco Poets Strike, which received national and international attention and forced the city to rescind the ordinance requiring poetry readings to be issued permits. At the same time, Kaufman was organizing the successful WORDLAND reading series, which brought together poets and rap and hip-hop artists.

In 1995, Kaufman worked with New Jersey poetry legends Danny Shot and Herschel Silverman on a special issue of Long Shot magazine called "It's the Jews!". A wildly successful anthology of underground Jewish artists and writers, the work helped to solidify Kaufman's thinking about alternative culture and his own Jewish identity. Kaufman's thought found form in the magazine Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution . Although it lasted only three issues (1996-1997), Davka proved a major influence on later publications covering alternative Jewish culture and on the very idea of an alternative Jewish culture.

In 1998, Kaufman began work on what has become one of his most notable achievements: the Outlaw Bible series. Shaped by his experiences with the national and international Spoken Word movement, the first volume of the series, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry , was published in 1999. The second volume in the series, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature , was edited by Kaufman, Neil Ortenberg, and publisher and editor Barney Rosset and came out in 2004. The final volume in the series, The Outlaw Bible of American Essays , was published in 2006.

In 1999, Kaufman's memoir Jew Boy: A Memoir was purchased by Fred Jordan. It was published the following year by Fromm International. Kaufman also made his debut as an artist in 1999, holding his first one-man show at the Chelsea Fine Art Building in New York. In 2004, he exhibited his paintings alongside those of artists David Newman and Tim Wicks in San Francisco. After another show with Newman and Wicks in 2005, he sold his first paintings. His novel Matches , begun during his service with the IDF reserves in 2003 and loosely based on his experiences, was sold to Little, Brown/Time-Warner Books and published in October that year.

In 2007, Kaufman signed to the Himmelberger Gallery in San Francisco where his paintings, exploring a variety of styles he grouped under the name "Visionary Expressionism," were shown several times. Controversy erupted, however, when the gallery's plans to publish a catalog of his paintings fell through over an objection to the use of the word "Zionism" in the title and the Zionist theme of some of the included articles. Kaufman, together with Polly Zavadivker, ultimately launched his own imprint, Miriam Books, to publish the catalog.