In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the US establishment strove to reaffirm a vision of a unified American nation. The dominant rhetoric employed strategies typical of community building, such as delineating boundaries and focusing around symbols. However, Robert Pinsky’s “Newspaper,” Joy Harjo’s “When the World as We Knew It Ended—,” and Reginald Shepherd’s “Objects in Mirror Are Closer than They Appear” illustrate how some poets after 9/11 envisioned community as tense, contradictory, and fragmented. The article discusses those three poems and their relationship to the corpus of poetry associated with 9/11 at large.

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