Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians on Writing after Tragedy

Interview excerpted from The Rumpus:

Suddenly, after 9/11, though, it seemed like everyone was reading and writing poems. There were poems written in the dust. So we thought, This is remarkable. And me, as a former journalism prof, knew that poetry at one point in the 19th century had a part in the newspaper as a sense of reportage. They would have a story, but they would also have a poem about the story. So we said, let’s do that. Let’s ask poets to give us a poem they wrote sometime after the event. We didn’t really want poems about the event—we didn’t want people writing about, “That awful day! The giant candles! The falling birds!” The point was that life was going on in New York. And there is poetry after the Holocaust.

Read the full here.

For more on Melville House Publishing, see here or here.

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