Larry Fagin was born in 1937 in New York City. Because his father was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fagin spent his youth in many different countries. He first became exposed to the Beat writers in 1958 while in Europe, where he visited the famous “Beat Hotel” in Paris.
In 1960, Fagin received his BA in English from the University of Maryland. He then moved to San Francisco, where he became friends with Jack Spicer and joined his circle of writers. When Spicer died in 1965, Fagin moved back to England, where he began to read the work of the New York School poets. Convinced that New York had the creative environment he was looking for, Fagin moved there in 1967 and two years later began working with Anne Waldman to run the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. He served as assistant director of the Poetry Project from 1971 to 1976. Fagin also produced a magazine, Adventures in Poetry, on the Poetry Project mimeograph machine. Adventures in Poetry, in print from 1968 to 1975—and later revived in 2001 as a publishing label—became one of the top New York School publications of the time. From 1978 to 1979, Fagan published and edited Un Poco Loco, a monthly poetry newsletter.
Fagin is the author of several poetry collections, including Complete Fragments (Cuneiform Press, 2012), I’ll Be Seeing You: Poems 1962–1976 (Full Court Press, 1978), Rhymes of a Jerk (Kulchur Foundation, 1974), and Parade of the Caterpillars (Angel Hair Books, 1968). In keeping with the collaborative spirit of the New York School, he wrote many of his works with other New York poets and artists, such as Bill Berkson, Jack Collom, Ron Padgett, and George Schneeman, among others.
A teacher as well as a writer, Fagin taught at the Naropa Institute, where he directed the poetics program from 1982 to 1984. He also taught creative writing in New York public schools and The New School. Fagin taught privately and lived in the East Village in New York City, where he had been based since 1968. He died on May 27, 2017.