A Call to Action for Letterpress Printers


To protest & commemorate the bombing of Mutanabbi Street, the center of bookselling in Baghdad, on March 5th 2007, the MUTANABBI STREET COALITION* is organizing readings and other events that will begin in March 2009.

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad.
Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.

Any group that wants to control a people also wants to control the content of every printed page, and they inevitably come to regard any other unsanctioned page as a possible threat. Oppression extracts not just a terrible human toll, but it also subtracts the words and images of the writers/artists who hold and express the cultural memory of any people.

We are extending our call to letterpress printers to contribute a personal response to the bombing on Mutanabbi Street. To date, we have received 42 broadsides that may be viewed at the Florida Atlantic University/Jaffe Center for Book Arts site. This second call for entries will also be archived on the website. We would like to add to our existing archive, to bring the total to 130 broadsides, which is the approximate number of people killed and wounded on Mutanabbi Street that day.

We are interested in a personal response from YOU. Your own writing, or the writing of other American poets in combination with powerful visuals can speak to the commonality of Mutanabbi Street with our own streets.  Using writing from Iraqi writers is also encouraged.

Can you contribute a broadside for these events?  Will you host an event?
Here’s how it will work:
We are asking each printer to contribute at least fifteen signed and numbered broadsides so that we can make sets and sell them. Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders. Sets will be offered for sale to Bay Area and North Carolina libraries as well as other institutions – we are open to your recommendations.
Broadsides should be between 9″ x 12″ and 12″ x 18″ (portrait or landscape orientation).
Paper is the choice and responsibility of the printer.
PLEASE be certain that copyright permission is held for any work you undertake; we will be unable to include the broadside in the sets for sale if copyright is not indicated. The content is your choice, but we are hoping to work with Iraqi and other Middle Eastern writers; please let us know if you would like to explore that option.
DEADLINE for the broadsides: January 15 2009.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: If you are interested in working with a contemporary author, texts from the poetry and prose anthology Mutanabbi Street Starts Here from Red Hen Press of Los Angeles will be available at the end of August, with more available by the end of October.

If you are interested in participating, please email robinsonli@ecu.edu. You will be added to an email list and will receive information as it develops, and we will know how many broadsides to plan to receive. THANKS, and we look forward to working together.

For further information contact: Coordinator of Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project II, Lisa Beth
Robinson, at robinsonli@ecu.edu or Beau Beausoleil at overlandbooks@earthlink.net.


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One Response to “A Call to Action for Letterpress Printers”

  1. LS graphic design » La magia della tipoimpressione // 1 Says:

    […] questa tecnica si stia diffondendo nelle università americane (e non solo). Da segnalare la loro iniziativa di protesta contro il bombardamento americano di Mutanabbi Street a Bagdhad, cuore del quartiere letteriario e […]

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