Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
PM Press, 2012
Paperback, 300 pages, $20
On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad -- the historic center of Baghdad bookselling -- wounding more than 100 people and killing more than 30. This anthology, long in preparation, 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. The publisher PM Press, is local, and the book is coedited by the San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil with the poet Deema Shehabi. Steve Dickison (Writing and Literature faculty), is one of many contributors.
Exploring the question “Where does al-Mutanabbi Street start?,” the book looks at both communities and nations, seeking to show the commonality between a small street in Baghdad and other individual cultural centers. Chapters examine 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, and a place where the roots of democracy took hold many hundreds of years ago.