Al-Mutanabbi
Street Broadsides
  Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition project
––one of only ten in the world––

Barrenness











Artist's Statement

After several sketches and preliminary designs, I chose the poem “Barrenness” by Buland al-Haydari, one of the Iraqi poets. I realized after reading “Barrenness” many, many times while setting the type, it wasn’t directly about the war. But indirectly, it was. The phrases “the same road,” “the same houses” and “what we used to say” can be interpreted different ways. I tried to make the visual image reflect the words. The linocut is a composite of several news photos posted on the Internet shortly after the bombing.

My feelings about letterpress printing with metal type are complicated. I am especially aware of using a 100+ years old press and type that was designed almost as long ago. I approach it with both reverence and respect, for its history and its power to communicate. The process of setting the type for the poem was almost a mystical experience for me. The repetition of the words, phrases and letter patterns, the way certain letters fit together, was magical. I printed on some vintage letterpress paper I had been saving. The results were not up to my expectations but still satisfying. I have since reprinted a short run on different stock as an edition variation.