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How did poets in the capital of American poetry respond to the tragedies of September 11, 2001? This survey of New York's poetry community provides a unique snapshot, commemorating the first anniversary of the event and featuring many of the most important poets of our day.
Amongst the 45 poets featured are current Pulitzer Prize for Poetry-winner Stephen Dunn, the editor of the Best American Poetry series David Lehman, National Book Award finalist Alicia Ostriker, Jean Valentine and the poets laureate of Brooklyn and Queens.
Their poems—most of which have never been published before—cover an extraordinary variety of responses to the challenging experience of writing and living in the aftermath of tragedy. Some are eyewitness accounts by poets who were on the scene. Others more indirectly touch upon the events, and reflect the somber resonance of the tragedy's impact upon life in the city.
Coming on the first anniversary of the attacks, the book is meant to both examine the state of the art in America's poetry scene, and provide a revealing cross-section of a particular cultural moment.
But it will also speak to a greater need on an occasion that will surely be one of the most sensitive and difficult in our nation's history. The editors, in their foreword, cite the remarkable gravitation toward poetry that was visible everywhere in the days after the attacks—on the walls of firehouses, in letters-to-the-editor at local newspapers, even scrawled in the dusty ash covering lower Manhattan.
Residents across the nation then were drawn to poetry. This book will be of interest to both general and academic audiences, and will speak to that widely expressed impulse toward poetry.