Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the National Association for Poetry was inundated with poems written by people who felt the need to express and share their feelings of shock, grief and loss. So great was the outpouring that the association decided to publish an anthology, consistent with the organization’s goal of offering poetic resources for comfort, healing and growth to all who need them.
The resulting collection, Giving Sorrow Words, included unsolicited poems sent to the organization as well as others written or translated by invited poets such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Billy Collins, Ellen Bass, Robert Bly, Lucille Clifton, Denise Levertov, and others
The books were then distributed to New York state victim’s assistance counselors and other helping professionals around Manhattan. They were used at the Boston Trauma Center with families of victims on flights from Boston on 9/11. Giving Sorrow Words was also distributed for use in grief and loss support groups in cities around the country, and the Red Cross distributed copies through its organ and tissue donor program. In Coral Springs, FL, members of the police and fire departments read the discussed the book and in Chicago a theatrical production was developed based on poems from the book. Copies were also distributed to families of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Columbia space shuttle. First published in 2002, the collection has gone through four printings.
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