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Contributions by Mary Jo Bang:

“January Elegy”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Ira Joel Haber: I guess I liked the winter imagery and since I was born in February I was also taken with that. I’m a winter person; I hate the summer, the humidity, the heat. Poet Mary Jo Bang: I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what an artist would take from the poem. In fact I rather adamantly tried not to imagine it. I wanted to be surprised. And I am surprised in the most pleasant way possible, especially by the use of color. By the drama of the colors against the deep black of the nether-sky. By the odd shapes the colors fall into. By how active the colors are. By how well they demonstrate the mind’s endless ticking as it tries to give voice to a chaotic interior landscape. I love the combination of restraint and chaos. Of form and formlessness.

Poet Mary Jo Bang is the author of four books of poetry. A graduate of the Columbia University MFA program, she is currently an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis. Artist Ira Joel Haber is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, and teacher who sometimes writes poetry and movie reviews.

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