Collaborators’ Q&A: 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: The artist and the world is a tricky propitiation. I think that artists should and must be careful not to be seen as opportunists with regards to the miserable situations taking place all over the world. Poet Amy Young: It is easy to react. The impulse is there, but I think for political art or art of witness to be successful, it is important for the artist or poet to not let the message sabotage the art. A measure of restraint, beauty and kindness can go a long way.
Artist Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Currently he teaches art at the United Federation of Teachers Retiree Program in Brooklyn. Poet Amy Young is finishing her MFA with the Rainier Writing Workshop. She is a former poet laureate of Alexandria, VA and teaches writing at The Lab School of Washington, an arts-focused school for kids with learning disabilities.