San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica CA 90404
just west of Centinela
free parking is available on school grounds
On March 5, 2007 a massive car bomb was detonated on Baghdad's al-Mutanabbi Street—for centuries the heart of Baghdad's intellectual and literary community—killing 30 and injuring 100. On Tuesday, March 5, New Roads School will host a poetry reading, involving both professional poets and New Roads High School students, to mark the sixth anniversary of the bombing that decimated "the street of booksellers" and its bookstores, outdoor book stalls, small print shops, and cafes. Poets participating in the reading include Tania Baban, Jordan Elgrably, Majid Naficy, Jim Natal, and Janet Sternburg—all contributors to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a new anthology of poetry written in response to the attack.
A selection of letterpress broadsides from the internationally-touring show, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here will be displayed in conjunction with the New Roads reading. The full show consists of 130 broadsides—one for each victim of the—all of which were created as collaborations among artists, poets, and writers responding to an international call put out by San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil, the project's founder and guiding force.
In addition to the reading at New Roads School, al-Mutanabbi Street reading events are being held in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and in the U.K to commemorate the anniversary.
poets & writers read from the anthology "Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here"
About the Readers
Born in Baghdad, book artist TANIA BABAN has work included in many museum, library, and academic collections, among them The Getty Research Institute, USC, Brown University, Oberlin College, and the National Library of Australia. She also is a graphic designer, workshop leader, and co-founder of Conflux Press.
JORDAN ELGRABLY is an Arab Jewish writer with roots in Morocco and France. His work has appeared widely in four languages, in such publications as The Paris Review, Salmagundi, Le Monde and El País, and in numerous anthologies. He is the director of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which he cofounded in 2001 to present the arts and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa.
MAJID NAFICY, the Arthur Rimbaud of Persian poetry, fled Iran in 1983, a year and half after the execution of his wife Ezzat in Tehran. He has published two collections of poetry Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque Books 1999) and Father and Son (Red Hen Press 2003) as well as his doctoral dissertationModernism and Ideology in Persian Literature (University Press of America 1997) in English.
JIM NATAL is the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of four poetry collections, including 52 Views: The Haibun Variations (forthcoming in April 2013) and Memory and Rain. His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. The co-founder of Conflux Press, he directs The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College.
JANET STERNBURG is a writer and fine arts photographer. Her books include the memoir Phantom Limband the classic two volumes, The Writer on Her Work. Her photography has been shown around the world from Berlin to Korea, as well as published in Aperture and Art Journal.
When & Where
Levantine Cultural Center
The Levantine Cultural Center champions a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa by presenting artistic and educational programs that bridge political and religious divides. In a search for common ground, the Center fosters discussions among artists and thinkers and offers classes and workshops that serve diverse ethnic communities.