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Occident to Orient by Zaid Shlah

  • 4800

On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Mutanabbi Street, the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad. In an attempt to bring something positive out of the destruction, an initial group of some 50 letterpress printers around the world gathered together to created the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition. The Coalition's goal was to respond to the tragedy with positive creativity: by printing the work of Iraqi poets and supporting Doctors Without Borders–a non-profit agency working to relieve suffering in Iraq and in other troubled areas of the world–through the sales of these braodsides.

We worked with poet Zaid Shlah on a beautiful piece in four movements. Letterpress printed in an edition of 100 copies on deckled Somerset paper, illustrated with an old printer's device that feels, to us, extremely connected. The colophon explains our reasoning. Each broadside is signed by the author.

A significant portion of the edition was given to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition for the group's fundraising efforts, and for what remains, we, too, are donating 10% of the purchase price directly to Doctors Without Borders. Measures 12" x 18". Currently available unframed only.

words like feathers I have plucked
from our mouth: cardamom, zahferon,
u sukar; and what about the labyrinth
negligee you whirl, and the giants you placate, is this
mine or yours to bear? still, there is no
rationale, -- hips, arms and thighs, palms over
Baghdad continue to sway, breasts sweeter
than dates--arak, white in delicate glass the Caliphate, and all the Arabian horses
could not stop us, almond green eyes, green
and given to dance, given to us, given; and all you are is dance

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