Nearly 90 poets from around the world have contributed to Babylon Burning: 9/11 five years on, an anthology of poems on the Twin Towers atrocity and its consequences. But they aim for more than pious hand-wringing: the anthology is free, but the editors request that readers donate to the Red Cross.
nthposition, the site behind the anthology, wants to maximise the money raised by listing it on iTunes as a PDF. (Only a handful of publishers are putting PDFs on iTunes, and they tend to be techie rather than literary.) Fourteen per cent of internet users visit iTunes. Though sales of poetry books are flat, online poetry is booming, poetry downloads rose by 40% last year and DEF Poetry Jam on HBO introduced a vast new – and young – audience to poetry, which nthposition wants to reach. Critic Marjorie Perloff recently remarked that the internet is “more fluid, flexible, and much more accommodating” than print for poetry.
Todd Swift, the poetry editor, agreed: “Auden said that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’, but we think it can, and we’d like to prove it.” Babylon Burning will rely on readers to spread the word – the site is completely unfunded. A print-on-demand paperback of the anthology will also be available from lulu.com, with all profits going to the Red Cross.
Contributors to Babylon Burning are: Ros Barber, Jim Bennett, Rachel Bentham, Charles Bernstein, bill bissett, Yvonne Blomer, Stephanie Bolster, Jenna Butler, Jason Camlot, J R Carpenter, Jared Carter, Patrick Chapman, Sampurna Chattarji, Maxine Chernoff, Tom Chivers, Alfred Corn, Tim Cumming, Margot Douaihy, Ken Edwards, Adam Elgar, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Philip Fried, Leah Fritz, Richard Garcia, Sandra M Gilbert, Nathan Hamilton, Richard Harrison, Kevin Higgins, Will Holloway, Bob Holman, Paul Hoover, Ray Hsu, Halvard Johnson, Chris Jones, Jill Jones, Kavita Joshi, Jonathan Kaplansky, Wednesday Kennedy, Kasandra Larsen, Tony Lewis-Jones, Dave Lordan, Alexis Lykiard, Jeffrey Mackie, Mike Marqusee, Chris McCabe, Nigel McLoughlin, Pauline Michel, Peter Middleton, Adrian Mitchell, John Mole, David Morley, George Murray, Alistair Noon, D Nurkse, John Oughton, Ruth Padel, Richard Peabody, Tom Phillips, David Prater, Lisa Pasold, Victoria Ramsay, Harold Rhenisch, Noel Rooney, Joe Ross, Myra Schneider, Robert Sheppard, Zaid Shlah, Henry Shukman, Penelope Shuttle, John Siddique, Goran Simic, Hal Sirowitz, Heather Grace Stewart, Andrew Steinmetz, John Stiles, William E Stobb, jordan stone, Sean Street, Todd Swift, Joel Tan, Nathaniel Tarn, Mark Terrill, Helen Thomas, Vincent Tinguely, Rodrigo Toscano, John Tranter and John Welch.
All gave their work for free.