Writer, poet, and visual artist Jill Magi explores "body, meaning, memorialization and narrative" in a new piece entitled Nineteen Rooms for September 11 for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's InSite, an initiative that invited artistic and community response to a decade of recovery and change in Lower Manhattan. InSite features exhibitions, performances, poetry, and ideas presented in partnership with a range of local institutions--Magi's piece is comprised of line drawings and brief text sequences. Here's one:


In a few days, a document disposal company will come to pick up my old notebooks. Anticipating this, I stamped each with a number, photographed its cover, and tried to ignore most of the contents of this collection totaling ninety-nine.

Midway through my project came a bright yellow book and I paused to look inside. Notebook 000036 contains an entry marked “7:30 a.m.” on the upper left corner of a page, and “9/11/01” on the right. I note this anomaly: no other pages contain such a conscientious date and time stamp.

Next entry: a list of names and phone numbers and comments such as “she is OK” and “left message.”

In the notebooks from the years after, my handwriting is loose, I am not troubled by love, I am trying to leave a full-time job, and poetry takes hold. I decide to keep all notebooks from that fall onward, keeping a box of evidence for this conclusion:

Without the event, I do not think that I know art as well, if at all. If, previously, art was an experience to collect, it is now a way to live.

I cup my hands around these words, making a frame: poetry city.

Please find the full piece here.

Originally Published: August 19th, 2011