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: 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. Poet Martin Willits Jr.: As a Quaker, I must “speak truth to power” about political and social issues. The problem with 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.”
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 Martin Willits Jr. has 5 full-length and 20 chapbooks of poetry, including national contest winner, Searching for What Is Not There.