The “Crisis” poem project was initiated by Steve Zeitlin, folklorist, writer, cultural activist and founding director of City Lore and curated by New York poet Bob Holman to reconstruct the Twin Towers with words. “In the days and weeks following September 11th, New Yorkers were numbed by the gloomy silence that fell upon Lower Manhattan…[When]
For “Tower One” people from all over the world submitted lines in response to an open call. For “Tower Two,” one hundred and ten established poets were invited, including Adrienne Rich, David Lehman, Denise Duhamel, Robert Creeley, Anne Waldman, Quincy Troupe, and Galway Kinnel, to contribute one line each. Holman and the poet Eileen Myles open “Tower Two” with the invitational line, “In times of crisis, poets lose words. Find some:.” Both tower poems were displayed along with poetry from the shrines as a part of “Missing: Streetscape of a City in Mourning” at the New York Historical Society from March 12, 2002 to July 7, 2002.
Subsequently, Zeitlin and Holman invited Distler to incorporate music into their project. Distler had been developing piano theatre, speaking text while working with the piano, and was starting integrate subtle electronics into his compositions, at the time. He worked with director Arnold Barkus to shape the performance of his collaborative composition “110 for 911” before its premier in February 2003 at New York’s landmark West-Park Presbyterian Church.
Jed Distler is hailed as "an altogether extraordinary pianist" (“Newark Star-Ledger”)
Dubbed a member of the “Poetry Pantheon” by “The New York Times Magazine” and featured in a Henry Louis Gates, Jr. profile in “The New Yorker,” Bob Holman founded the Bowery Poetry Club in 2002. His collection of poems, “A Couple of Ways of Doing Something,” a collaboration with Chuck Close, was published by Aperture.
City Lore was founded in 1986 to produce programs and publications that convey the richness of New York City's cultural heritage. Its staff includes folklorists, historians, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists, all of whom specialize in the creation of programs and materials for public education and enjoyment. City Lore is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 72 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003.
Contributors to “Two Towers” include Bob Holman, Eileen Myles, Martin Espada, Ed Sanders, Anselm Hollo, Kamau Braithwaite, Clifton Joseph, Tish Benson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Honor Moore, Maureen Owen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joe Dobkin, Jill Bialosky, Kimiko Hahn, David Lehman, Kathleen Masterson, Ed Friedman, Bob Hershon, Ntozake Shange, Hettie Jones, Alex Jacobs, Cecilia Vicuña, Meena Alexander, Martha Rhodes, Andrei Codrescu, Edward Hirsch, Roger Bonair-Agard, Wanda Coleman, Dara McLaughlin, Lee Briccetti, John Yau, Nancy Mercado, C.D. Wright, Edwin Torres, Max Blagg, Everton Sylvester, Suheir Hammad, Jessica Hagedorn, Eliot Weinberger, Galway Kinnell, Maggie Dubris, George Tysh, John Kulm, Michael Warr, Nick Carbo, Toni Blackman, Jan Clausen, Tato Laviera, Anselm Berrigan, Dave Johnson, Carla Harryman, Steve Colman, John Rodriguez, Robert Creeley, Bart Droog, Maria Damon, David Trinidad, Denise Duhamel, Elaine Equi, Willie Perdomo, Russell Leong, Terry Gelber, Robert Kelly, Regie Cabico, Hal Sirowitz, Reesom Haille, Sarah Jones, Indran Amirithanayagam, Thomas Lynch, U Sam Oeur, Robert Chambers, Luis Rodriguez, Jeff McDaniel, Kenneth Goldsmith, Raymond Federman, Eliot Katz, Lucy Grealy, Jerome Rothenberg, Joan Retallack, Chris Funkhouser, Richard Martin, Emily XYZ, Vicki Hudspith, Janet Hamill, Gary Mex Glazner, Adrian Castro, Danny Shot, Marcella Harb, Sandra Esteves, Brenda Coultas, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Patricia Smith, Saba Kidane, Mary Ann Caws, Maggie Balistreri, Bill Berkson, Gary Lenhart, Michael Gizzi, Vincent Katz, Marjorie Welish, Staceyann Chin, Jerry Quickly, Anne Waldman, Charles Bernstein, Tony Medina, Quincy Troupe, Marie Howe, Adrienne Rich as well as anonymous contributors.
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