from the press release:
On March 5th 2007, a car bomb exploded on Mutanabbi Street in a mixed Shia-Sunni area of Baghdad. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling; a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor bookstalls. Named after the famed 10th-century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, this is an old and established street for bookselling and has been for hundreds of years. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.
Feeling a need to respond, Beau Beausoleil, a San Francisco poet and the proprietor of The Great Overland Book Company has formed a coalition of poets, writers, artists, printers, booksellers and readers; the Mutanabbi Street Coalition.
This tragedy is part of the wider and continuing debacle in Iraq, but one that we want to isolate and address---not only for the loss of lives but also for the implications underlying the destruction of a street where books were sold. Bookselling on Mutanabbi Street is no different from bookselling here. We traffic in memory, ideas, and dreams. In that sense, we feel that Mutanabbi Street starts at the front door of all bookshops.
In support of the work of this group, Pandora’s Collective (www.pandorascollective.com) and Upstart Crow Books (www.ucbooks.ca) are putting together a memorial poetry reading. The Mutanabbi Street Memorial reading will take place at Upstart Crow Books, 238 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver on August 24th, at 7:30 p.m.
Marta and i will be going via the seabus, and anyone else who wants in is more than welcome to join us. let me know.
oh, and i just got this one cool word notice. the new issue is being launched tonight!!! click on the image to see a bigger version with all the details.