Larry Laurence

Larry Laurence was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Navy family and grew up believing normal life meant pulling up roots and moving every two years. He began writing in his twenties, earning an M.A., English, studying poetry under Philip Levine and Peter Everwine. He worked 12 years as a construction laborer and warehouse worker before earning a second M.A., this time in Rehabilitation Counseling, which he uses to work with disabled adults.

Larry Laurence’s books are a full-length volume of poems, Life Of The Bones To Come, Black Heron Press, Seattle, WA, chosen as a National Poetry Month selection by NACS, the National Association Of College Stores;  a chapbook, Scenes Beginning With The Footbridge At The Lake, Brooding Heron Press, Waldron Island, WA;  and an e-chapbook, Successions Of Words Are So, E-Ratio Editions, NY, NY.   Awards include grants from The Seattle Arts Commission (WA) and Artist Trust (WA), plus a Jack Straw Fellowship (WA) and residencies at Community Of Writers (CA) and Cummington Center For The Arts (MA).  Larry Laurence earned an M.A, English, California State University, Fresno, studying poetry under Philip Levine.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

“The poem ‘Despair/Experiments’ captures the theme of this collection. In fact, the combined meaning of those two terms portrays the alienation within the heart of our cities while playing within the waves and the roll of language where we are soaked by every instance of human contact. He brings in endearing memories stirred up by homely simple experience and imbues it all with what he refers to as the Ironic/ Post-Ironic wisdom of the poet.”
—Michael Daley

Inclusive of Hello and Goodbye
for J.W.

Three angels manifest themselves at a bar. They make it known to the mind of the bartender, This day is our birthday.

No. Three baleen whales, a gray, a blue, & a humpback,
swim into a bar. They sing in high-pitched vocalizations & clicks, This day is our birthday.

No. Three rocks, an igneous, a metamorphic, & a sedimentary, roll into a bar. In Morse code they knock against themselves to the bartender, Today is our birthday.

No. Three weeds, a sheep sorrel, a redstem filaree, & a Canada goldenrod, seed themselves at a bar. Utilizing the slight air currents available they rustle to the bartender, Today’s. . .

No. Three trees, a Jenny sycamore, a paw paw, & a blossoming pear. . . An anaconda, a coachwhip, & a Texas blind snake. . . OK, a swift, a chicken hawk, & a blue jay. . .

OK, OK. Three subnuclear particles appear & do not appear simultaneously in various unknowable interstices of realities themselves barely conceivable at the bar & outside the bar. They harmonize

in vibrations at once audible & inaudible to the bartender

in such a way to at last, at long last, prove senseless the dichotomy of
the observer & the observed, Today’s our birthday!

No matter, says the bartender. We, all of us, gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

The planets in their musical spheres,
In their deep dance of woe and words.

2006 Writers Program

1999 Writers Program

Sound Clips
  • Reading Aloud with Both Ears Open - Larry Laurence