I just found out about this great new anthology from PM Press in Oakland, California, called Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s “Street of the Booksellers”.
And there will a special evening of readings from the anthology in Vancouver (BC) tomorrow night, Thursday, March 28, 2013, at Cottage Bistro from 7:00-9:30 pm.
Go here for more information on the book or to purchase: https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=430
From the publisher’s website:
“On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. More than thirty people were killed and more than one hundred were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th century classical Arab poet al-Mutanabbi, it has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. This anthology begins with a historical introduction to al-Mutanabbi Street and includes the writing of Iraqis as well as a wide swath of international poets and writers who were outraged by this attack.
This book seeks to show where al-Mutanabbi Street starts in all of us: personally, in our communities, and in our nations. It seeks to show the commonality between this small street in Baghdad and our own cultural centers, and why this attack was an attack on us all. This anthology sees al-Mutanabbi Street as a place for the free exchange of ideas; a place that has long offered its sanctuary to the complete spectrum of Iraqi voices. This is where the roots of democracy (in the best sense of that word) took hold many hundreds of years ago. This anthology looks toward al-Mutanabbi Street as an affirmation of all that we hope for in a more just society.”
Anthology editor Beau Beausoleil explains the concept behind this anthology:
“One of the fundamental ideas of this project is to help people see, by way of the writing and art of our project members, that al-Mutanabbi Street starts on a street quite close to them, indeed, perhaps even on the front steps to where they live.
Right now al-Mutanabbi street starts somewhere on a small street in Qatar, a street in Damascus, on a small street in Beijing, a small street in Tehran. It starts here in San Francisco, in Santa Fe or Boston or Omaha or Detroit. It starts wherever someone gathers their thoughts to write towards the truth, or where someone sits down and opens a book to read. Wherever the free exchange of ideas is suppressed or attacked, wherever writers and artists are silenced, or risk their lives to speak the truth through their work, there will be a place for them on al-Mutanabbi Street.” -Beau Beausoleil