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Poetry of September 11

Compiled by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist

Poetry Left at Memorial: September 11, 2001, Documentary Project
Poetry Left at Memorial.
35 mm color slide.
September 11, 2001, Documentary Project.
Archive of Folk Culture,
American Folklife Center

Other Poetry Web Guides


Poetry of September 11 is a guide to poetry written in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The guide is divided into the following sections:

For a review of major poetry written in response to the attacks, see Laurence Goldstein's "The Response of American Poets to 9/11: A Provisional Report." To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Digital Reference Section. Please note, however, that to be considered for addition to the Selected Individual Poems section of the guide, poems must have been written or published within one year of the September 11 attacks.

Print Publications

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Print anthologies and collections of poetry held by the Library about the September 11 terrorist attacks can be located by searching the online catalog for the following two Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):

September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001--Poetry.
September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001--Literary collections.

Selected Anthologies

An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind: Poets on 9/11. Ed. Allen Cohen and Clive Matson. Oakland, Calif.: Regent Press, 2002. [catalog record]

Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets. Eds. Dennis Loy Johnson and Valerie Merians. Hoboken, NJ: Melville House Pub., 2002. [catalog record]

September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond. Ed. William Heyen. Silver Springs, MD: Etruscan Press, 2002. [catalog record]

Through the Eyes of Freedom: A Teen Perspective on September 11, 2001. Ed. Jennifer Bishop. Oklahoma City, OK: New Horizons Pub., 2001. [catalog record]

Selected Individual Collections

Berkoff, Steven. Requiem for Ground Zero. Charlbury, Oxon: Amber Lane Press, 2002. [catalog record]

Brathwaite, Kamau. Ark. New York: Savacou Publications, 2004. [catalog record]

Flynn, Thomas F. Bikeman: An Epic Poem. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008. [catalog record]

Harnett, Joel W. 9/11 Plus 60: Poems. Paradise Valley, Ariz.: J.W. Harnett, 2002. [catalog record]

Link disclaimerOnline Resources

Selected Individual Poems

Note: The following poems were all written or first published, based on review of available records, within one year of the 9/11 attacks.

Alexander, Meena. "Late, There was an Island (A Poem Cycle)"

Armitage, Simon. "The Convergence of the Twain"; "Out of the Blue" (Reading available on YouTube: Part 1, 2, 3, 4)

Baker, David. "Late-Blooming Roses"

Baraka, Amiri. "Somebody Blew Up America"

Bidart, Frank. "Curse"

Birkeland, Susan. "Jesus Poem"

Brett, Michael. "9/11 Poem from London"; "Missing Person"; "The Entry of Osama Bin Laden into Paradise" (under pseudonym Max Speed)

Breytenbach, Breyten. "New York, 12 September 2001"

Brown, Andrea Carter. "The Old Neighborhood"

Clifton, Lucille. "September's Song: A Poem in Seven Days"

Cohen, Ira. "Holy Smoke" (scroll down page)

Collins, Billy. "The Names"

Creeley, Robert. "Ground Zero"

Danticat, Edwidge. "on the day of the dead"

Day, Lucille Lang. "Strangers" (found at bottom of page)

Dunn, Stephen. "Grudges" (found at bottom of page)

Espada, Martín. "Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100"

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. "History of the Airplane"

Finch, Annie. "The Naming"

Garrison, Deborah. "I Saw You Walking"

Hahn, Kimiko. "Boerum Hill Tanka"

Hamod, Sam. "The Double Dream of Falling"

Harjo, Joy. "When the World As We Knew It Ended"

Hazo, Samuel. "September 11, 2001" (third poem)

Howard, Richard. "Fallacies of Wonder"

Inez, Colette. "September Morning"

Katz, Eliot. "When the Skyline Crumbles"

Kennedy, X. J. "September Twelfth, 2001"

Kinnell, Galway. "When the Towers Fell"

Lauterbach, Ann. "Hum"

Lifshin, Lyn. "Someone Says They Looked Like Cartwheeling Birds" (PDF, 305 KB)

Mercado, Nany. "Going to Work"

Merwin, W.S. "To the Words"

Moore, Daniel Abdal-Hayy. "A Little Ramshackle Shack"

Motion, Andrew. Untitled

Nakadate, Neil. "Autumn 2001: New World Order"

Olinka, Sharon. "It Must Not Happen"

Ostriker, Alicia. "The Window, at the Moment of Flame"

Pinsky, Robert. "9/11"

Plumly, Stanley. "The Morning America Changed"

Salcman, Michael. "Sitting Shmira"; "September Sonnet"

Sharp, F. John. "South Tower, 96th Floor, Corner Office"

Sleigh, Tom. "New York American Spell, 2001"

Solomon, Sandy. "September 2001"

Szymborska, Wislawa, "Photograph from September 11"

Vinograd, Julia. "World Trade Center"

Wheeler, Susan. "(The movie set on the horizon glows)"

Williams, C. K. "War" (scroll down)

Wolf, Michele. "Attempting to Fly"

Zagajewski, Adam. "Try to Praise the Mutilated World"

Collections of Poetry

The following online collections of poems consist primarily of contributions by the general public.

NineOneOne: America is Bleeding

A collection of poems, originally appearing on the poetry forum, written shortly after the September 11 attacks.

9-11-01 Remembrance: An Online Archive

An online archive created by the City University of New York to memorialize those in the City University Community who were victims of September 11. The archive of writings includes poems written by University students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

People's Poetry Gathering - Poem Towers

Two 110-line "poem towers," one line for each story of the World Trade Towers. Each line is contributed by a different poet.

Poems After the Attack

An online anthology of poems about the September 11 attacks from


Includes poems by Meena Alexander, D. Nurske, Nancy Mercado, David Yezzi, Brenda Gannam, Philip Appleman, and other poets about the September 11 attacks.

September 11 Digital Archive

The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. This link leads to a number of poems included in the archive.

September 11, 2001 Documentary Project

The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. The above links leads to several poems submitted by individuals in response to the attacks.

September 11th Memorial Poetry Project

Poems read as part of the Brooklyn Arts Council's Folk Arts' annual 9/11 memorial project, which in 2010 focused on collecting and sharing memorial poems.

Words to Comfort: A Selection of Poems and Photographs

A Jacket magazine feature that includes a selection of poems read at the benefit readings to support the World Trade Center Relief Fund at the New School, New York City, Wednesday October 17, 2001.

Finding Additional Poems at Your Library

To find additional poems at your local library, consult subscription poetry indexes and full-text databases. Examples of databases that may be available include:

The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry

Dozens of poems can be found under the subject heading September 11th, 2001.


A keyword search on World Trade Center and Pentagon Attacks, 2001, limited to poems, returns more than 150 citations.

Speak with a reference librarian at your library for assistance locating additional sources of poems about the September 11 attacks.


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  February 5, 2019
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