Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
Reading by Meena Alexander from Al-Mtanabbi Starts Here, Feb. 20, 2013 at Harvard Bookstore
Below are pictures and text from the collaboration between Jesseca Ferguson and Meena Alexander for the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here exhibit.
Fragment, In Praise of the Book
Book with the word for love
In all the languages that flow through me
Book made of leaves from a mango tree
Book of rice paper tossed by monsoon winds
Book of pearls from grandmother’s wrist
Book of bottle glass rinsed by the sea
– Book of the illiterate heart –
Book of alphabets burnt so the truth can be told
Book of fire on Al-Mutanabbi street
Book for a child who wakes to smouldering ash
Book of singing grief
Book of reeds vanishing as light pours through.
Published in the Al-Mutanabbi Street Anthology (2012)
Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is a traveling of 259 artist books made by 259 international artists/artist teams from 24 countries. They reflect upon the March 5, 2007 car bomb attack that took place in Al-Mutanabbi Street, the ancient street of booksellers, poets and writers, located at the literary and cultural heart of Baghdad, Iraq. The show is unique in that each artist team has created three versions of their book, with one entire set being donated to the National Library in Baghdad, Iraq. The other two sets are touring in various countries The first scheduled exhibition was in the UK at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.