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Poetry After 9-11: An Anthology of New York Poets Paperback – September 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"There were, in the immediate aftermath, poems everywhere"--on lampposts, in local newspapers, scrawled in the ash covering lower Manhattan. As the editors of this collection note, "straightforward news wasn't enough. There was something more to be said that only poetry could say." It is eloquently said here by 45 notable poets, among them Pulitzer winner Stephen Dunn and Slam Champ of the first Nuyorican Cafe Poetry Festival, Hal Sirowitz. On the days leading up to and including September 11, NPR will play on its news shows recordings of the poets reading their works; Good Morning America plans a feature on this book during its 9/11 coverage.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

9/11 After last year's tragic attack on the World Trade Center, Americans turned to poetry both to find expression for their grief and to assuage it. Not surprisingly, poets themselves turned to the blank page (or computer screen) to sum up the nation's sense of loss. Some of the best efforts are captured in this fine anthology, which represents the work of 45 poets from New York City. Included here are award winners like Stephen Dunn, Jean Valentine, Molly Peacock, Alicia Ostriker, David Lehmann, Rachel Hadas, and Geoffrey O'Brien, but many lesser-known poets appear as well. The tone ranges from shocked to angry to mournful, but overall the effect is one of meditation and of slowly gathering one's forces to conquer fear. In general, the best poems are those that skirt images of flaming skies and falling towers to recount a depth of mourning, as in Valentine's lines: "She would long/ to dig herself into the graveyard, her only/ daughter's ashes/ in her nose-in her mouth." But there is hope here, too: "Yes her daughter will be an orchard/ Yes the orchard will be a forest." An excellent addition to most collections.
Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House; 1 edition (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971865914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971865914
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,311,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm tempted to try and hook you into a very goodbook of poetry today.
Good poets trying to do the impossible, while bleeding a city and nation's pain.
But I will say it was a book given to me that is worthy of a read on the day of rememberance of a national horror. Because of this day so many of us changed.

My daughter wrote a poem on one of those 9-11 days remembering. While helping me teach my 1st grade as a Principal read a poem on the intercom and life went on. Like a lot of things her words on that little day a few years later might wash away, as so much ink, but I keep the poem around because it holds me, and contains some of our joint family memory....a day we remember how we worried over our family in New York, and the nation's safety...I think I'll share her work. It won't help you evalate this book, but it will send you to it I think. It should.... the poets in the book are among our best.

september 11th, by Sylvia Puglisi,
A depressing sort of poem. But there could hardly be a happy one today, I suppose.

* * *

september 11
17 first-graders
moment of silence skipped
for the immediacy of fresh strawberries
and the novelty of pencil sharpeners
(which may never wear off in this lifetime)

invisible principal over the intercom
(like in the old cartoons that reliably reproduced so many aspects of school particularly the cliched plots and precocious love lives)
reading bad poetry in a
flat lifeless voice
like shakespeare in junior high
with unenthused classmates
and meaningless.
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Format: Paperback
I've added one star for the benefit of modern poetry lovers, who will no doubt see more in this collection than I did.
In the introduction to this slender collection of poems, the editors plump the persistence of poetry. Immediately after the Towers came down, poems appeared everywhere. Nailed on poles, taped in windows, scrawled in dust, poetry answered a need of expression that other forms could not. In their extremity people just let their feelings pour out in verse.
Unfortunately, all the poems collected here are by professional poets. I daresay that nobody reads contemporary poetry except other poets, so this collection betrays a pretty self-absorbed mood. As the editors proudly note in the forward, few of the poems make any direct reference to the atrocity, and only two mention retaliation, and that in a negative way. Instead, these curdled by irony bards spin blank, meterless lines of...whatever comes to mind, apparently.
Poetry as therapy seems the dominant theme. The closest to a recognizably human sentiment anyone comes up with is one poem ticking off all the missing street vendors. Others just muse upon their mute shock, using descriptions of bric-a-brac in their apartments for grace notes or codas. Still others focus on a single incongruous detail out of the surrounding calamity, funny how some things catch your attention. One guy goes cruising in the gay Chelsea district, an imaginary Walt Whitman on his arm, while decrying all ickiness in life. Another types up a passable Guardian editorial, blaming America, but we know it's poetry because of all the indentations. And there's an alphabet of alliterations in another.
Okay, poets are people too, and must have their own ways of dealing with disaster.
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