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by William Heyen

This book, which is unlike any other in our literature, was written during the three months following September 11, 2001. The editor wanted to catch the first, passionate reactions of many of our finest creative writers to a matrix of grievous events that would continue to intensify in the American memory as have few others. In September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, more than 125 fiction writers, poets, and essayists are seized in ways that often surprise themselves; together they offer a revelation of our collective psyche during a perilous time.

Download September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond epub
ISBN: 0971822816
ISBN13: 978-0971822818
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: William Heyen
Language: English
Publisher: Etruscan Press (December 1, 2001)
Pages: 456 pages
ePUB size: 1355 kb
FB2 size: 1883 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 668
Other Formats: lit doc lrf azw

September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond is a collection of voices of well-known authors along with lesser-known authors who are just as effective. The authors, including award-winning poets, teachers, professors, war veterans, and Pulitzer Prize winners, try to express themselves to help readers deal with the events of September 11th. It is an assortment of powerful poetry and prose mixed with gripping letters and short essays.
The book, arranged in alphabetical order by author, is a candid set of thoughts and feelings that the authors experienced during the days following September 11th. The various backgrounds of the one hundred plus authors are evident by their written thoughts and expressions about the September 11th tragedy.
The best pieces in the book are the one's where the authors decided to express themselves through poetry. There are two poems that stand out to me. The first poem is "Monday Sundown" and is part of a collection by Lucille Clifton titled "9/11/01 - 9/17/01.
"i bear witness no thing
is more human than hate
i bear witness no thing
is more human than love"
It deals with the two major emotions felt during the tragedy-love and hate. Those emotions are exactly what every American was dealing with after September 11th. We hated the people responsible for the attacks, but loved everyone who passed away or was lending a helping hand. The second poem in the collection that moves me is Lucien Stryk's "Quiet, Please!" It contained a verse that September 11th survivors could understand and quite possibly, help put their thoughts into words.
"down the stairs. Survival
heaps dead flowers into sleep.
Keep still. I think I'm dreaming."
The piece in the book that is both my favorite and most personal is coincidentally is not a poem. It is Karl Elder's short essay titled "The Silence." I must make a note that Karl Elder is a professor of mine at Lakeland College, but I have no bias as Elder's piece deals with the exact same experience I had. He writes about a Green Bay Packer's football game played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin just 13 days after September 11th. He describes how his Iranian friend, now a United States citizen and also a professor at Lakeland, is treated as he enters the famed stadium. He illustrated his feelings as the game wore on. The funny thing about the piece is that I enjoyed it without having to completely read it. I attempted to read it five times before I could make it through without daydreaming of that night. Elder's piece took me back to that game on September 24th.
The piece transported me to when I was standing in the long lines before the game and how I actually asked God to protect us that night. I thought of how I took my Green Bay Packer hat off during the Star Spangled Banner because I wanted to show respect for the nation and not just because it was routine. It recaptured the eerie feeling I had about halfway through the second quarter when I realized that an important football game was nothing more than a distraction for the events in New York. It brought the chill back to my neck as I remembered when Chris Gizzi, a reserve linebacker for the Packers and an Air Force reservist, led the green and gold from the locker room under a banner of red, white, and blue. It reminded me of the time when the crowd chanted "USA, USA!" and I finally realized what patriotism felt like. And lastly, "The Silence" took me back to the drive home when my brother-in-law (a volunteer firefighter) and I had an hour-long talk and not once brought up the Packers.
The book is being used in my class at Lakeland College, but it is unlike any textbook I have ever read. September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond is not facts and figures, but a book that brings back many of the same feelings that were felt on September 11th-fear, sadness, confusion, and disillusionment. The stories of September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, told through the words of the book's brilliant contributors, are not meant to inform or entertain, but as Elder's "The Silence" took me back, the pieces evoke one's own remembrance of September 11th. Through the works in this book, I began to understand the feelings I felt after September 11th.
Every reader that reads this book will be transported back to September 11th. Whether the reader was watching the events unfold on television or from a New York rooftop, September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond will cause the reader to remember how they felt. That is why Americans should buy the book and the personal remembrance of September 11th is the only reason necessary to buy it. After reading September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond readers will place it on a shelf or a coffee table, but they should never leave the stories far from their conscience.
September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond is a carefully put together anthology dealing with the attacks on the World Trade Center. This compilation contains pieces written by over 100 different authors and its diverse contents allow it to appeal to a variety of people.
Stylistically it is difficult to describe September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond because the genre is so widespread. The anthology includes poems, essays, short stories, fictional stories, non-fictional stories, letters, and poems-the list could continue. Each author has their own style yet the pieces have a way of fitting together and creating an amazing collection of artist's reactions to the events on September 11th. Authors like Daniela Gioseffi makes the reader laugh because she writes about an entertaining (and touching) conversation she has with a nine year old girl while authors like Fred Moramarco makes the reader cry because the contents of his poem include the final conversations of September 11th victim's lives. The different authors attempt to affect the reader in different ways creating an extremely effective anthology.
The pieces in the compilation of writings are arranged in alphabetical order by the author's last name. This unoriginal organization is actually a very effective technique used by the editor, William Heyen, because it leaves the reader in anticipation of what is left to come. Heyen could have organized the anthology by grouping similar pieces together but this option is undoubtedly inferior to his choice of arrangement. Because every author has a different point of view and style, the reader has no idea what to expect when they begin the next piece in the anthology. The reader may find two poems similar in content back to back, or an essay followed by a memoir with contents differing from one extreme to the next. The anticipation that builds within the reader regarding the content of the upcoming pieces makes September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond a book that people do not want to set down.
It is impossible to read September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond without questioning your own view on the attacks. The anthology represents an abundance of different points of view. From Muslims to Christians, Middle Eastern people to American people, presidential supporters to presidential protestors; every view is represented. One of the most amazing things about this collection of writings is the wide range of feelings it produces. There are pieces like "the window, at the moment of flame", by Alicia Ostriker, that produce feelings of anger and disbelief in many readers because it blames the Americans for the tragedy. There are also pieces like Richard Wilbur's "Letter" that produce nationalistic feelings and recreate a true sense of love and pride for America. A person's opinion of the nation and the attacks prior to reading September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond will definitely be challenged because of this book. Pieces such as "America United", by Ishmael Reed, force even the strongest supporter of the government to reevaluate the strength of our leaders and, consequently, take a second look at their own view on the matter. Initially some of the pieces included in the anthology may produce feelings of rage because the point of view of the reader and the author differ greatly. One of the things that make this anthology as effective as it is, however, is that the differing opinions (regardless of who the reader is) will be retaliated by another piece somewhere in the book. The anthology contains such a large variety of pieces that it is impossible for a person to not be able to identify and agree with at least one of the pieces.
It is inevitable that the attacks on September 11th had an affect on every American, but what is not as certain is the effects that it had on people other than Americans. September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond helps prove that the attacks were not simply an American tragedy, but rather a world tragedy. The anthology contains non-fictional stories such as "Sisters", by Karen Blomain, in which two American sisters are spending an ordinary day shopping in a flea market when the attacks occur. In this story the tragedy brings the American sisters together to mourn with Russians, Koreans, Latinos, and Indians. Many of the authors that are included in the anthology come from different cultures. The ability of this one book to cross cultures and force any reader to see the impact the tragedy had on people other than Americans is simply amazing. After reading this book it is impossible for a person to see the attacks as affecting only Americans, but instead the book forces readers to have feelings of empathy and respect for other cultures.
September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond is one of the most moving and motivational anthologies of today. Although the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred almost two years ago, it is still hard for people to cope with the tragedy. Books like this one help people (both Americans and non-Americans) deal with the truths of the attacks and come to the realization that they are not alone in whatever they are feeling. The amazing thing about September 11, 2001: American Writer's Respond is that it has the capabilities of touching every single person's life because of its diverse content. In a time period as dangerous emotional as this, people need to find a place to turn when they feel that there is nowhere left to go. Thankfully this book can be that place for anyone.
September 11, 2001 American Writers Respond is a compilation of musings written within days of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, making this book a gem for its timeliness. The contributors express in poetry, essay, letter and other forms of composition the thoughts and feelings they had regarding the horror of that day of infamy. With over 120 writers included, the impressions encompass a spectrum of opinions and feelings. It is safe to say there is something for everyone in this book. The entries range from serious realism to fantastic prose, all relating to September 11, 2001. The writing is flawless and stimulating, both for its originality and for the variety of emotion the pieces create.
Now that almost two years have passed since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it is interesting to read the book and remember the misconceptions and rumors that were reported on the news or written in magazines and newspapers right after the attacks. No one knew at that time what the long-term effects would be on the nation. Writers predicted events that have not happened. Reading their forecasts now is amusing and sometimes sad. It recalls our naivety before the loss of innocence.
Above all, this book is a montage of American thought. Readers will find a voice that echoes their own. One will take note of new friends, but carefully walk around those who reflect an opinion too far from their own. It is a timely book, but a monster in the closet. One must choose wisely when to take it out, for it will make even the most callous reader remember, reflect, and react to that awful September 11th.