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Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: An Evening of Poetry

March 5, 2018 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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On March 5th, 2007, Al-Mutanabbi Street, a “booksellers street” that was the nucleus of Baghdad’s literary and intellectual community, became the target of a car bombing that destroyed the historic district, killing more than 30 people and wounding 100 others. In response to the bombing, Beau Beausoleil, a San Francisco-based poet and bookseller, started Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, an art and literary project commemorating Baghdad’s devastated cultural center and standing in solidarity with the Iraqi people and their cultural communities.

On March 5th, 2018 FOR-SITE will join over twenty individuals and organizations across the world, from Washington D.C. to Mosul, in hosting a commemorative evening of readings at Sanctuary. Marking the exhibition’s final week, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here invites Bay Area poets, writers, artists to read original or existing poetry in memory of the vibrant Baghdad street that was a stronghold of diverse cultures and ideas, and in solidarity with the community of booksellers, writers, artists, and readers who were at its heart.

Featured guests include:

Dena Al-Adeeb is an artist, writer, scholar-activist, and a mama born in Baghdad, Iraq and is currently based in Oakland, California. Dena’s work refracts the political aesthetics of displacement, memory, and marginalized historical narratives. Dena is a Ph.D. candidate in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department, Culture and Representation track at New York University. Her artwork takes on varied practices including performance, installation, video, photography, drawing, sculpture, painting, sound, and writing. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Beau Beausoleil is a San Francisco poet and the founder, in 2007, of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Project.

Nahid Fattahi was born in Afghanistan and currently lives in the Bay Area. Her poetry has been published in One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature.

Gary Gach is editor of What Book?, and author of Pause Breathe Smile (September 2018). Garygach.com

Richard Harrison‘s On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood won the Canadian 2017 Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. In the collection is “A Home on Al-Mutanabbi Street” which Richard wrote for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, and which formed, along with its Arabic translation, his broadside for the project’s international show.

Persis Karim is the Director of the newly established Center for Iranian Diaspora at San Francisco State University. She is a poet, editor, and long time member of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Project. 

Tamsin Smith is a San Francisco poet, essayist, and painter.  Her first full book of poems Word Cave was released in early 2018, by Risk Press; prior work can be found in the verse collection Everything Indicates (Heyday Press) and Lightning Strikes (DolbyChadwick Gallery) and on TamsinSpencerSmith.com.

Kenneth Wong is a Chinese-American author, born and raised in Rangoon, Burma. His essays, articles, short stories, and poetry translations have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Myanmar Times, Irrawaddy, Boston University’s AGNI magazine, and California College of the Arts’ Eleven Eleven literary journal. He currently teaches Burmese at UC Berkeley.


March 5, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Fort Mason Chapel
Fort Mason Chapel
San Francisco, CA 94109 United States
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