The following are excerpts from a Foreign Policy in Focus article by Split This Rock Director Sarah Browning. For the full article, click here.
In 2007, a car bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street, killing 30 and injuring another 100. Residents of Baghdad felt it as not just another attack but a strike against the richness of Iraqi literary history and against the free exchange of ideas and openness of thought. Books and papers lay scattered and charred beside the corpses on Al-Mutanabbi Street that day in March.
Beau Beausoleil, an American poet and bookseller based in San Francisco, ... created the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project because “... I felt we needed some sort of response [to the bombing] from our own arts community.”
The broadsides have been exhibited in libraries, galleries, and universities throughout the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. This month they come to Washington, DC, to the Corcoran College of Art + Design from July 7 to 31.
Split This Rock ... has joined forces with the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Foreign Policy in Focus to present a reading of poems from the project itself and others inspired by Al-Mutanabbi Street. ... The reading and a reception take place in Gallery 31 at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, 500 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC where the broadsides will be exhibited, Thursday, July 7, 6-8 pm.