Dr Geoffrey Roper

Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Broadsides collection

A heartfelt tribute by some traditional letterpress printers in America to the literary and bibliographical heritage of Iraq, and its partial destruction.

Night-in-Hamdan.jpg -

Mutanabbi Street is the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th Century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, this street has been, since time immemorial, the historic heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.

On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Mutanabbi Street. At least thirty people were killed and one hundred wounded.

The Mutanabbi Street Coalition was formed soon afterwards to commemorate not just the tragic loss of life, but also the idea of a targeted attack on a street where ideas have always been exchanged.

The coalition, headed by San Francisco poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil and printer and professor Kathleen Walkup, is made up of over forty letterpress printers who have gathered to respond to the tragedy with positive creativity: by printing the work of Iraqi poets in broadside form and supporting Doctors Without Borders--a non-profit agency working to relieve suffering in Iraq and in
other troubled areas of the world--through the sales of these broadsides.

Florida Atlantic University's digital collection: "Mutanabbi Street Starts Here" Broadsides collection brings this historic suite of hand-printed literary broadsides to South Florida, and features the original 42 of a projected 130 pieces upon completion of the project. Each is truly a work of art. All are printed letterpress, usually from handset metal or wood type. Some feature
original relief prints, some are printed on handmade paper; all are made with the passion of artists who have something to say."

Click on the "Enter the Collection link at: