Monday, March 6th – 7-9 pm
A Reading for Al-Mutanabbi Street: Beau Beausoleil, Judith Ayn Bernhard, Neeli Cherkovski, Agneta Falk, Jack Hirschman, Michael Koch, Jessica Loos, Dorothy Payne, Kim Shuck, plus Steve Arnston, piano

“The only war is the war on the imagination” – Diane di Prima.

Al-Mutanabbi Street destroyed by car bomb, March 5, 2007.

Residents shop for books at Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen

Poets read to commemorate the March 5, 2007 destruction by car bomb of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad’s bookseller’s street named for the 10th century Iraqi poet. This tragedy, in which 26 died and a great many bookshops and stalls were decimated, marked a sad and vivid┬áturn in the second Iraq war, which began with the American invasion in 2003.

Ever since that event, with the motto “Al-Mutanabbi Street starts here,” poets, writers and artists across the world have sought to show solidarity with the Iraqi people by endeavoring to keep the memory of that terrible event alive through their words and art. Readings are being staged far and wide on March 5th and the days immediately around it, including ours on Monday, the 6th, in which many of our most politically committed poets will address the tragedy and its implications.

Al-Mutanabbi Street reopened for business and culture four years after the bombing, and the poets and artists want to see to it that no one forgets the enmity that the power mad have for thinking, questioning and creative individuals and that resistance is a creative act in and of itself.