Friday, November 22, 2013

Verse Junkies

This is nice, even though I just found out it was posted in October. I knew it was going to be published but not when, and Verse Junkies failed to inform me that it was up and running in October. I found it by accident. This failure to inform me that my work has been published has been happening more and more of late and needless to say it pisses me off, sure I'm pleased that my work is being published left and right, but annoyed when I'm not told. Anyway this is a nice piece. 

 Robbi Nester responds to a sculpture by Ira Joel Haber

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Box with yellow and white house and four telephone poles by Ira Joel Haber (1969)

Robbi writes on the process:
“A year ago, I wrote a poem about Super Storm Sandy. A week or two later, I saw a call for submissions about the storm at Broadsided. They publish broadsides pairing art and poetry along with interviews about the genesis of the pieces:
I didn’t notice that the call asked poets to write a poem in response to a painting posted on the website that was done by Ira Joel Haber. I sent in the poem, and a while later learned that my poem had been chosen. I have always been interested in ekphrastic poetry. My first book, a chapbook called Balance (White Violet Press, 2012) follows a sequence of yoga poses developed by B.K.S. Iyengar (the Emotional Stability Sequence) and paired with drawings of the 15 poses done by artist Nina Canal.
Following that, I began to write many more ekphrastic pieces, and soon had a manuscript of them, Together. Ira contributed many pieces to the book, along with other artists like Sallie-Anne Swift, Lavina Blossom, Mary Boxley Bullington, and photographers John Genesta (who also did the cover of my chapbook) and Sandrine Bizaux Scherson. Some of these, like “Home,” were written in response to the art piece, and once, Ira was inspired to do a whole series of paintings about my poem “To Be Continued, about the Antarctic explorer, Shackleton.
I also wrote about some well known pieces, like photographs by Diane Arbus and one of the self-portraits done by my great-uncle, the poet and painter, Isaac Rosenberg, who was a WWI British poet. The portrait hangs in the National Gallery in London.
I look forward to the release of the book in 2015, when I hope we can arrange readings and gallery shows of the work in the book.”

After a sculpture by Ira Joel Haber

There is no place
like this home
in a box—the tiny
vacant windows gape
in surprise or invitation.
Nobody lives there
or ever will.
It nestles
in imaginary hills.
Telephone poles
stand sentry
on either side
though the bright
yellow roof generates
its own light.
Plato must have
had it right:
this house
embodies an idea
of home, perfect
and pure, the kind
of place glimpsed
in passing
through the back
window of the car
as a small child
rides from one city
place to another,
dreaming of a future
that will never come.

Ira Joel Haber writes:
“The piece used in the poem “Home” was made by me in 1969. I titled it Box with yellow and white house and four telephone poles. It’s been exhibited in several exhibitions and was once owned by the late poet Hannah Weiner who returned it to me many years ago because she was having a nervous breakdown and was afraid that she couldn’t be responsible for it. It now resides with me. I posted it not too long ago on Facebook, and Robbi saw it, loved it, was inspired by it to write her poem “Home.” I’m very honored and pleased that one of my pieces inspired her to write the poem that is now published here.”

Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), which follows a sequence of yoga poses developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. The book offers a poem of 14 lines for each of the 15 poses, accompanied by drawings by Nina Canal. Her two manuscripts of poetry are still out, awaiting publication.
While she is waiting, Robbi is busy putting together an anthology of poetry and artwork inspired by NPR and PBS stories and shows. It is called The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! and will be published by Ninetoes Press sometime next Spring or Summer. Please feel free to submit work to with the subject line NPR Poetry (or artwork) and your name. Attach a Word document or jpg (for art) and a bio.
She is also an Executive Editor on the journal Slippage, which combines science and the arts, and a book reviewer for New York Journal of Books.
Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum & The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 100 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fund. Further works can be viewed at


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