A Brief History of Citizenship
New York is a city of writers. And when the city was attacked on 9/11, its writers began to do what writers do, they began to look and feel and think and write, began to struggle to process an event unimaginable before, and even after, it happened. The work of journalists appeared immediately, in news reports, commentaries, and personal essays. But no single collection has yet recorded how New York writers of fiction, poetry, and dramatic prose have responded to 9/11. Now, Ulrich Baer has gathered a multi-hued range of voices that convey, with vivid immediacy and heightened imagination, the shock and loss suffered in September. From a stunning lineup of 110 renowned and emerging writers-including Paul Auster, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Edwidge Danticat, Vivian Gornick, Phillip Lopate, Dennis Nurkse, Melvin Bukiet, Susan Wheeler-these stories give readers not so much an analysis of what happened as the very shape and texture of a city in crisis, what it felt like to be here, the external and internal damage that the city and its inhabitants absorbed in the space and the aftermath of a few unforgettable hours. As A.M. Homes says in one of the book's eyewitness accounts, 'There is no place to put this experience, no folder in the mental hard drive that says, 'catastrophe.' It is not something that you want to remember, not something that you want to forget'. This collection testifies to the power of poetry and storytelling to preserve and give meaning to what seems overwhelming. It showcases the literary imagination in its capacity to gauge the impact of 9/11 on how we view the world.
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