about Harold Jaffe


What follows are a collection of reviews and interviews published in or broadcast by various sources, including a special issue devoted to Jaffe's work, The Literary Terrorism of Harold Jaffe.

WIPs Conversation: Harold Jaffe on his work in progress Brando Bleeds. The interview can be read here.

Harold Jaffe: “Hair” and “Lino 1,” excerpts from the novel Brando Bleeds as published on Works (of Fiction) in Progress. The excerpts can be read here here.

REVIEW of Induced Coma from The Kenyon Review. The review can be found here.

REVIEW of Induced Coma from The Chicago Review. Read the review here.

INTERVIEW with KBOO's Between the Covers about his book Induced Coma. The interview can be heard here.

INTERVIEW with New Orleans Review about his novel Othello Blues. The interview can be seen here.

INTERVIEW with Sleipnir about his novel Othello Blues. The interview will be published in Sleipnir in Fall 2014 and can be seen here.

Harold Jaffe spoke with WIPs, Works (of fiction) in Progress, about his forthcoming book Induced Coma: 50 and 100 Word Stories. Take a look at the interview here, as well as an excerpt from Induced Coma.

Harold Jaffe interview to be published in Rampike, September 2013.

Critical Analysis of Harold Jaffe's work included in two excerpts from Eloy Fernández Porta's recent books -- Homo Sampler and €®O$ -- that contain commentaries on Harold Jaffe's short stories. His first book, Homo Sampler, has been recently translated to French. He is also writing a long prologue to 15 Serial Killers for its release in Spain, along with Straight Razor, later this month.

Harold Jaffe interview conducted by Jiminy Panoz for his blog.

The idea was to tease out some of the subtexts that fuel global capitalism. Capitalist entertainment presents something condemnable, such as serial killers or Nazis, but at the same time makes these objects charismatic and consumable. Condemn / Consume is the mantra. My intention in Anti-Twitter, at least in good part, was to illuminate the obscured subtexts, whether they contained racism, xenophobia, lack of compassion, eroticism, jingoism, etc.

Harold Jaffe interview conducted by Gary Lain for Straylight Magazine.

Debord is a crucial figure for me. In his Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, 1988, he claimed that alienation was no longer possible, that the "spectacle" had metastasized such that wilderness both outside and within consciousness was fatally encroached. Then he shot himself in the heart.

I am still alive and trucking, not so much to herald change, though that would be welcomed, as to bear witness.

Harold Jaffe interview conducted by Roland Goity for LITIMAGE.com.

As I and others (the cultural theorists Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard, for example) see it, the usurpation of "fact" has moved very rapidly, even exponentially, along with the almost total reliance on technology. Information becomes disinformation without apology; one datum contradicts a previous datum posted a few hours before; medical technology makes no distinction between the "artificial" and the "natural." For example, when Janet Jackson's wardrobe "malfunctioned" a few years ago during the Super Bowl halftime show and a "breast" was exposed, the institutionalized media went wacky, but nobody pointed out that it wasn't her 45-year-old breast at all but rather the expensive surgically implanted "artificial" nubile breast that was briefly exposed.

Hal was invited to present at Authors@Google.

Harold Jaffe interview which was published in Armageddon Buffet.com.

I've moved more deliberately toward bending, treating, sometimes merely displacing a datum; that is leaving the figure (datum) intact or mostly intact, and simply altering the ground from, say, Al Jazeera or Huffington Post or Yahoo to my own docufiction. Altering the ground or context, even without changing the text, permits the reader to see the datum with different eyes.

I'll put it this way: Shaman-like, I swallow the poison, and when I expel it, it has been metamorphosed into its opposite: a curative.

Anti-Twitter article and review posted on SanDiego.com.

In a subversive nod to the tweeting generation, the 150 stories that make up Anti-Twitter, which will be released on February 15 (Raw Dog Screaming Press), are compact texts: Each is exactly 50 words long. (Twitter messages, of course, are a maximum of 140 characters.) Jaffe, the author of 15 books consisting of novels, collections of short stories, "docufiction" and essays, spent four months culling a variety of mainstream (and not so mainstream) news sources for Anti-Twitter�s foundational stories, then another month "bending the professed truths of the current culture," he says.

cover image of The Literary Terrorisms of Harold Jaffe

The Literary Terrorism of Harold Jaffe:

Essays and Interviews about Harold Jaffe

Journal of Experimental Fiction 29, edited by Eckhard Gerdes: iUniverse, Inc., 2004.

Harold Jaffe's acts of literary terrorism work to wrestle control of the future of literature away from the dominant culture. This book celebrates that effort.

Jaffe is an acute observer of the painful conditions under which we are forced to live on a daily basis. And like any harbinger of ill, he is sometimes mistaken for its creator. But he is not. He is clearing out space that has been polluted for too long. His acts of literary terrorism are acts that reclaim literature and art fiction from its cooption by fast-food-wielding advocates of disposability: what has been disposed by the dominant political culture has too often been literary artists. Those who have benefited have seldom been literary artists. Jaffe has worked brilliantly to save literature from its unwitting complicity in the elimination of readers who dare question authority.

The writing in this volume, whether by Jaffe, his former students and colleagues, or works inspired by his lead, helps blast us out of our complacency and reclaim space we should never have relinquished. Innovation and renovation are inextricably linked.

Table of Contents

Eckhard Gerdes: Find a Seam, Plant an Interview with Harold Jaffe, Slip Away
Michael Hemmingson: On Staging Jaffe
Harold Jaffe: Circle Jerk
Stephen-Paul Martin: Harold Jaffe, False Positive, FC2, 2002
Lance 0lsen: Shock Fictions for a Culture of Derangement, or: Nine-Inch Heels in Real Reel Time
Gary Lain: voice a deep howl, eyeshine greenish orange
Edward Viesel: Open your eyes
Ptim Callan: My Friends and I Were Spitting on the Lincoln Memorial One Day
Michael Filas: Punk Jaffe
John Edward Lawson: Techno Guerilla in the AntiSphere
Andrew Koopmans: Queen of Hearts, California Communion, Slapstick, Towers of Babel
Regina Kummel: False Positive by Harold Jaffe
Trevor Dodge: Countdown
Lucy Corin: What Happened When I Tried to Review False Positive by Harold Jaffe
Carissa DiGiovanni: Birds on Stilts, Video-Making, and Solidarity: Activism with Harold Jaffe
Scott Tinley: Black is Black
Faruk Ulay: Abandon Me
Eckhard Gerdes: Harold Jaffe. 15 Serial Killers: Docufictions


Individual Interviews


I recently did an interview with Every Writer's Resource.

EWR: It seems that you are using your writing, your art, as a tool, not just to probe into individual human condition but into the 'collective' human condition. Some artists would argue that the internal world of humans is our true condition and others might argue that it is our interaction, and our relationships that give us better insight into who we are. Do you feel that it is the internal human nature that defines us or the interaction and conflict?

Jaffe: I've phrased it (borrowing form the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor) as the distinction between art-making that endorses a liberation of nature as opposed to a liberation from nature.

I believe in the former. That is, like Gramsci ('pessimist of the intellect, but optimist of the will'), I've willed myself to believe that the human condition (not excluding animals, plants and the planet overall) is capable of being modified and democratized and that art can play a role in that effort.


My interview, conducted by Sine Ergun, was published in the journal NotosOyku in October, 2008, when a translation of Beyond the Techno-Cave is published in Turkey.

What might be called a postmodern totalitarianism is at work in the US, but there are also small, hard-to-locate rents or openings in the totalitzing network. My writing is designed to locate, enter and expand those openings.

The majority are naturally conditioned not to see 'guerrilla' intrusions, or to confuse them with something else -- Anti-Americanism, say. But some people, not many, will see and comprehend, perhaps especially among the disaffected young.


I had an interview published (transcript unavailable), which was conducted by Professor Reiko Nitta in the Japanese journal Kenkyusha, 2008.


An interview conducted by Larry Fondation was published in Rain Taxi in 2008.

The crucial point, I think, is that people are constrained to believe official culture's definition of happiness and unhappiness. And official happiness notably excludes dream, vision, and psychotropic-induced epiphanies.

Unhappiness, official culture instructs us, must not include sympathy for the thousands of brown-skinned children and adults who have been murdered in Iraq or are sick unto death because of the US's unconscionable use of depleted uranium in its weaponry.


A mutual q & a between Harold Jaffe and Terese Svoboda, published in Mad Hatters' Review, Issue 10, Fall 2008.

As far as the 'well-made' story, docufiction can be well-made on its own terms as, say, a documentary by Eisenstein or Costa-Gavras is well-made. But I also think that crisis-writing, even though it is rapidly composed and nominally addressed to a certain issue, has as much esthetic purchase as what Roland Barthes called 'white writing' -- texts about texts and deliberately separated from the world outside the imagining mind.


An interview of me was conducted by a pirate radio, December 2007.


Another interview (transcript unavailable) was conducted by Robert Viscusi for Brooklyn College (CUNY) Television, October 2004.


This interview was conducted by FC 2's Kristyn Stem, Fall 2004:

Voice? Arguably, we each have a fundamental 'voice' which functions sort of like DNA. At the same time, voice as a measure of a writer's individuality is, in my opinion, falsely elevated, associated as it often is in this culture with the egomaniacal, superstar aspect of writing, what Walter Benjamin dismissively called the 'auratic' (aura-like).


Another interview was conducted by Eckhard Gerdes for the Hyde Park Review of Books, Spring 2003.


Here's an interview conducted by Alter Praxis.

... to arrive at that space where there is no past or future, just the vibrating hellish present. That space represents an indelible separation from an insupportable culture.


An interview (transcript unavailable) was conducted by Maria Glorio for Praz, Milan, Italy, Winter 2002.


I gave an interview (transcript unavailable) to Readers & Writers Magazine, San Diego, 9/2000.


Here's an interview conducted by Professor Tateo Imamura for the Japanese journal Shincho, April 1998.


Here's another interview for Rebel Yell.


My interview with Jim Miller, was published in New Novel Review, Vol. 4, No.2, Spring 1997.

Why write? Particularly now, in this era of ever-diminishing returns and the hypercommodification of all our social/cultural/personal space.


This interview was conducted by Janice Wynborne of San Diego's KPBS radio, November, 1992.

Our notion is that writing, even writing that pretends not to be fiction, has a degree of fiction in it. For example, history is written with the generous support of lots of federal grants. It can be argued that that's a kind of fiction. So too fiction, at least the fiction that we favor, which is both fiction and non-fiction.


This interview was published in Central Park, Spring '94, with an excerpt published in Pacific Review, Spring '91 (transcripts unavailable).

This would seem to be a good time for radically innovative writers like you, Mark Leyner and Kathy Acker -- 'good' in the sense that you're able to get your books published and attract reasonably wide audiences. But isn't there a flip side to this -- a weakening of the ability of even truly radical, revolutionary art to affect anything simply because it can be appropriated and commodified so easily? We saw this, for example, with punk . . .'


I gave an interview to Larry McCaffery for Some Other Frequency: Interviews With Innovative American Authors (Penn Studies in Contemporary American Fiction).

'Well, there are different ways of foregrounding, or seeming to foreground, technique. In visual artists like the Constructivist El Lissitsky, or Picasso of the Guernica period, or even Mondrian; or in music Scriabin, Messiaen, or, say, Tom Waits, the formal aspects weave in and out of the sensuous content, shaping it, charging it. It is in fact the energy and technical adornments in combination which equal passion.'

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