In the manner of the The Spoon River Anthology, this collection of verse has the dead speaking of their lives and abrupt departures on September 11, 2001.
Artist Viola and writer Kilborne take the poetic license of putting words in the mouths of the dead in this collection of free and rhymed verse-portraits. The facts are drawn mostly from the New York Times's "Portraits of Grief," the award-winning series of vignettes about the victims of 9/11. Then Viola and Kilborne assume control, adding a wash of color and personality as best they can imagine. A number of the pieces have a certain staccato rhythm, an abruptness of tone that reflects what those last moments may have been like. Others are conversational, sometimes in the form of duets, as when siblings or married couples both perished (e.g.., brothers: Vincent-"I persuaded Cantor Fitzgerald / To hire him as a bond trader / In my department. / We were a team." And Andrew: "He talked; I listened. / That's my brother's idea of a dream team." While some are sassy and defiant, others nail home the profound feeling of loss, especially when children are involved: "Now Zachary will raise my son"; or, "I planned on having two days off / That I would spend with Irene / Fixing up a nursery / For a child due in October." A few of the selections feel a bit rushed to include all the pertinent information–"I played guitar, / Studied Kung Fu / And photography, / Climbed Mount Rainier..."–while others stumble over the verse: "At Carr's Futures / I may be missed / As a financial / Analyst." But each demonstrates the extreme difficulty in capturing the essence of the departed's being. Viola and Kilborne manage to inject immediate life into many of these quick studies, which is certainly a tribute that all these men and women deserve.
The preface quotes Eli Weisel: "Memory may be our most powerful weapon against fanaticism." Thank you, then, for the poignant memories.