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Every generation of Americans encounters defining moments that reveal both the worst and the best of humanity on a national scale. For Leslie McGraw, the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when the twin towers were destroyed, marked that moment. In her debut collection, McGraw, a poet and journalist, presents a compelling blend of news, live interviews, and personal journal entries spanning twelve years, starting from that fateful day. Initially, McGraw’s journaling began as a way to process the grief and death broadcasted on the news. Over time, it transformed into a journey of self-discovery and healing, helping her navigate her own struggles with depression and loss. “During the early years, my journaling focused on my emotions – how I felt about various events. But as I delved deeper into those journals, I unearthed something profound, something beyond the surface – my true self. Through this twelve-year journey, I uncovered both beauty and flaws within myself. For instance, I realized that my longing for love and affection was, in essence, a desire to be heard, valued, and accepted.”


Every generation of Americans faces moments that expose both the worst and best of humanity on a national scale. In “Emergencies of the Heart,” McGraw captures the profound emotions experienced during such times.

This special 21st-anniversary memorial edition features updated and new poems, along with a poignant foreword dedicated to the 267 Black Americans who lost their lives during the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“In ‘Emergencies of the Heart,’ poet Leslie McGraw transforms her grief, anger, and confusion over the 9/11 attacks into a source of comfort, clarity, and grace. Her poems highlight the resilience of the human spirit, urging us to connect with our loved ones, family, and the broader human community. McGraw’s work attests that the only true response to the emergencies of the heart is love. This heartfelt, courageous debut is a testament to the power of the human spirit.”


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