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Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Prose and Poetry
March 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad is a winding street about one thousand feet long, noted for its many bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famous classical Arab poet Abu at-Tayyib al-Mutanabbi (915–965 bce), it has been a thriving center of Baghdad’s bookselling and publishing for many years. On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on it, perhaps to intimidate intellectuals. More than thirty people were killed, and more than one hundred were wounded—booksellers, book buyers, and devotees of reading and of books—and the Shabandar Café where intellectuals met was gutted. Beau Beausoleil, a poet and San Francisco bookseller, created in solidarity a coalition of poets, artists, writers, printers, booksellers, and readers; broadsides of their writings and artwork about this tragic event were printed, and recitations were made in many cities.
“You can bomb a bookstore or ban / a book, but it will not die. You cannot kill / a poem like you can a man. / Al-Mutanabbi Street will rise again” (Sam Hamill). “The books blew up and people, / cafés and stores; but words remained, / hovering, circled, waiting” (George Evans).
See more about the evening here: http://ow.ly/6V5y30nFXUx