9/11 and the Socio-Politics of Poetry
Eijnden, J.S. van den
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This thesis explores the poetic responses to 9/11 and its political aftermath as came about in the US in the first decade after the attack. Examining a diverse array of poetic practices, ranging from the widespread circulation of Auden’s “September 1, 1939” in the immediate wake of the attack to the Poets Against the War movement founded in response to the US invasion of Iraq, I argue that engagement with (post-) 9/11 poetry enabled US citizens – via (1) the community-focused content of the poetry and (2) the easiness of this poetry’s distribution and sharing - to create particular national identities for themselves and to become part of, or envision themselves as being part of, particular political communities. Arguing against the popular view of poetry as a purely aesthetic, “transcendental” medium, I show that poetry is strongly societally anchored and (critically) politically engaged, and as such can perform an important role in the framing of such highly ideologically charged events as 9/11.