Student’s 9/11 poem published
When freshman Lauren Jarvis-Gibson first decided to take an introductory poetry course, her intentions simply were to improve her songwriting abilities.
Writing songs since she was 8 years old, Jarvis-Gibson said she felt that the skills she learned in poetry class would crossover into songwriting.
“I either write songs or poems,” Jarvis-Gibson said. “Writing is just an outlet for me. It just helps me process everything.”
Five months later, her professor, lecturer Alan Britt, recited her poem “September 11th, 2001,” at the scene of Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center, a museum that is located across the street from where the Twin Towers once stood. Jarvis-Gibson’s poem will be published alongside several other poems that were all read at the tribute poetry reading, including professor Britt’s, in a book that will be put on display at the museum.
Although she doesn’t live in New York City, Jarvis-Gibson said her inspiration for the piece came from the emotional debris that spread across the country after the attacks.
“For me, I was in the third grade when 9/11 happened and I was always kind of fascinated by what happened after 9/11,” Jarvis-Gibson said. “Like [Britt] said, the emotion just kind of came through everybody.”
It all began as a simple assignment, Jarvis-Gibson said. Britt told his students to hand in one piece of poetry per week.
In those poems, students could use any style of poetry and write about anything, Britt said. No rhyme scheme, no length and no boundaries.
Britt himself had written several poems on 9/11, each published in his book “Alone with the Terrible Universe.” The artist for the book’s cover introduced Britt to Meriam Lobel, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center museum curator. Lobel asked if Britt would mind reading his poem’s at the Tribute Center’s annual poetry reading.
Then just weeks before Britt was set to read his poems at the Tribute event, he read Jarvis-Gibson’s poem.
Britt said he brought along Jarvis-Gibson’s poem to the reading, which took place April 30. The poem was the last poem of the night and earned a standing ovation from the audience.
“The reaction was so overwhelmingly positive,” Britt said. “I keep getting these emails from Meriam, the coordinator, saying ‘Wow, what a wonderful job.’”
Jarvis-Gibson said that in the future she would like to pursue a career in music therapy, but that hasn’t stopped her professors from trying to convince her to pursue an English major, especially after hearing her poem.
“[Britt] sent an email to the English department and my English teacher was like ‘We have a famous poet among us’ and I was like ‘Oh, no’,” Jarvis-Gibson said.
September 11th, 2001
Two identical castles.
Both gray as hot gunmetal.
Both majestic and powerful.
Swaying like hammocks.
On a hot autumn day.
As fog fill up every hole in the air.Silent screams crash to the ground.
An index finger shatters into nothing.
A leg, an arm, an eye.
Bodies in the air soar through the sky.
No way to catch them.
Bodies turning to cold black ashes.Nothing to cool them down with.Waterfalls erupt in our faces.
Rest in peace to all the heroes.
Rest in peace to those 2 castles.
May you be free from agony forever.