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



Artist's Statement

This project immediately attracted me. The opportunity to make some small difference in the lives of those most affected by this horrific war spoke directly to the mission of my press, where the political and personal meet and mingle in book form. I called my friend, Sam Amico, who owns a Sufi bookstore, and he loaned me a stack of books about the world of Arabic literature and Iraqi poetry. I delved into research on the net to learn about Al-Mutanabbi Street, its rich history and significance to the entire Arab world, the March bombing, and the state of the city at the present. I have a small travel book on Iraq first published in 2000; so much has been lost since. It was the source of the map that gives a fighter jet view of the city and shows the streets mentioned in the poem.

I intended to make a dirtier, grittier and bloodier print, the view from the ground but somehow it came out quite beautiful from the air. For all my research and the non-stop coverage broadcast on the radio as I worked in the shop for a week solid, I still perceive the veil between my view of the war and that of the poet riding the red bus in the poem. Do boy scout centers still exist in Baghdad? Do women shop on Mansour Street? The poem thrusts us into that most frightening place and the broadside goes as far as I was able venture toward Hell.