Why did this piece of art resonate for you or seem like it would give you an avenue into writing about Typhoon Haiyan?
Poet Martin Willits Jr.: The sense of “restriction” that responses are never fast enough or are the things needed to rebuild. Consider that Haiti never recovered, New Orleans never recovered, etc. Yet we never see the need completely, like there is a barrier. In this case, there is nothing hiding the tragedy, but we do not see it.
What do you think is the role of art in regards to real-world, real-time events? In other words, what makes a “successful” occasional or political piece of writing or art?
Artist Ira Joel Haber: I’m not a political artist but sometimes I do respond when asked to give a response to some action good or bad happening in our world. This was very bad, and I’m glad that my piece of sculpture inspired the poet. This piece was made by me in 1970 with no regards to world events then or now. I am an artist I make things, my art is about me, about my sensibility. My art is autobiographical, insular and not reaching out into the world with regards to world events. As I said I’m glad the piece has reached out to the poet and he was inspired by it to write a poem.
Poet Martin Willits Jr.: As a Quaker, I must “speak truth to power” about political and social issues. The problem some protest poems is that they lose their “power” due to time, writing and publishing, the event has gone and forgotten. It is a writer’s task to make the event “remembered.”