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Contributions by Robbi Nester:

“Ebola”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Ira Joel Haber: I have fond memories as a kid of making sun prints, and so I went about playing with the paper and the sun. I placed two plastic figures I had on the paper and this was the result. I thought that it was a fitting image—strange, disturbing, and figurative. Poet Robbi Nester: A meaningful response to real-world events in art does more than just retell the story. It delves into its meaning, comments on it, connects with it on a personal level. That’s what makes it worthy of surviving beyond the immediate event.

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 Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014).

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“Watching Sandy on the Weather Channel, October 2012”

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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? Poet Robbi Nester: Art cannot change or undo tragedy, but it can create empathy among people who were not affected by it personally, like those out here in Southern California. It can teach and it can connect us all emotionally, as well as healing emotional scars. To read or to write about a traumatic event can purge a person of pain and allow her to go on with life. Somehow, making this pain public can relieve one of its burdens. Artist Ira Joel Haber: This depends totally on the artist…That doesn’t mean that these artists are not interested in the real world, real time events or politics, and they may separate their art reality from their real world reality and can even occasionally do a work of art that is related to an actual event. They can also be very political and socially aware and liberal (most artists are) who do not hesitate to sign petitions or take part in political actions. Then there are artists who are totally socially conscious and whose work is political both visually and conceptually. So then the question on what makes a successful political piece of art or writing like all art depends on the quality of the work itself, no ands ifs or buts.

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 Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014).

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