I’m honored today to discover that Newsday published my letter to the editor about the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. (It is an edited version of the letter that I submitted.) If you are a digital subscriber to Newsday, you can also read it online here.
Newsday is not only the newspaper that I grew up with — it is also the third largest paper in all of New York State and one of the largest in America. It has a weekday circulation of 437,000, and reaches nearly half of Long Island’s households. The 80-year-old publication has been the winner of 19 Pulitzer Prizes, with nominations for 20 more. I am especially grateful to its editorial staff for selecting my letter for such an esteemed newspaper.
W. H. Auden called the mid-twentieth century The Age of Anxiety. It was the title of a book-length epic poem that won him a 1948 Pulitzer Prize, and it depicted his perception of the loneliness and isolation of the mid-twentieth century. (I have not read it.)
Auden set it in a bar in New York City. (He actually immigrated there in 1939; many casual poetry readers are unaware that he had dual citizenship with Britain and America.)
I wonder what Auden would think of the early 21st Century, here at his adopted home. I t started with the September 11 terror attacks and has arrived at a pandemic that has killed 443,000 Americans (along with nearly 94,000 back in his native Britain). Evictions and unemployment have predictably risen right along with the deaths.
And America seems the closest now to civil war since … the actual Civil War began in 1861. (We did, after all, see one side storm the Capitol to attack its democratically elected government.)
I’ll bet our anxiety could give Auden’s a run for its money.