Speakeasy with poet Aerle Taree

Former Arrested Development member discusses her newest book PoeTaree: The Jurisprudence of Life

Aerle Taree has accomplished quite a deal throughout her career. In the early ’90s, Taree won two Grammys and several other prestigious awards with musical group Arrested Development for hits such as “Tennessee.” An avid humanitarian, she supports various charities and foundations, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She’s also written four books and recorded a spoken-word album called PoeTaree: All She Wrote. These days, you can find the Atlantan managing her entertainment company Reality Writings Inc., and promoting her new book of poems, PoeTaree: The Jurisprudence of Life.

What was your inspiration for writing PoeTaree: The Jurisprudence of Life?
I was on tour when I wrote this book. I was going through a lot of things. When you’re on tour, it’s the fast life. You travel from city to city constantly. There’s partying and drinking everywhere. And even though I was surrounded by people, I was lonely. People wanted to go out, and party and I was saving money to buy a house. I was moving in a different direction in my life. It was just a reflection of how I was feeling when I was with the group.

The title of your book literally means the laws of life, or the rules of life. What made you choose that title?
Originally, I named the booked Poetry in Life. I thought it was too general and wanted it to be poetic. The book is about my perspective on different aspects of life. Around the time I wrote the book I began to read articles on Buddhism. I converted some time after that.

Are you still Buddhist?
No. I attend Ebenezer Baptist Church, these days. Laughs I call myself Buddhist-Baptist.

Poems like "Run Away, Child" and "Wake Up" are racially charged poems that cater to a largely segmented African-American perspective. Do you worry that this perspective will alienate readers who aren’t African-American?
No. What I find is that when other cultures read my poems, they feel like my perspective is firsthand knowledge on how African-Americans interpret some situations. It’s a perspective that’s separate from the news or television. Most readers don’t feel alienated. I’m not afraid to address touchy subjects, readers appreciate that. People from all over the world have commented on my book with positive feedback.

Your book was published by Reality Writing Inc., which is your entertainment company. How does it feel to publish and produce your own book of poems?
It feels wonderful. It’s a lot of work. All the bookkeeping, marketing, and staying on top of the receipts can be stressful sometimes. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

What's the one thing you truly want people to get out of PoeTaree: The Jurisprudence of Life?
I want people to realize you should live life by your own law, within reason. If you learn from your mistakes and lessons, you don’t have to go through the painstaking process of repeating them. That’s why I left blank pages in the back of the book. So readers could write down their own thoughts. I believe books are an asset. In this time and age, where you spend so much money on entertainment, a book is $20 or less and it’s yours for life.