Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

contributors read from

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here:
Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad's "Street of the Booksellers"


February 20, 2013
8:00 PM


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome poet MEENA ALEXANDER, contributor to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad's "Street of the Booksellers," along with poet and PM Press editor ROMY RUUKEL.

On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad—the historic center of Baghdad bookselling—wounding more than a hundred people and killing more than thirty. This anthology begins with a historical introduction to al-Mutanabbi Street and includes the writing of Iraqis as well as a wide swath of international poets and writers who were outraged by this attack. Exploring the question Where does al-Mutanabbi Street start?, the book looks at both communities and nations, seeking to show the commonality between a small street in Baghdad and other individual cultural centers and explain why this attack was an attack on us all. It examines al-Mutanabbi Street as a place for the free exchange of ideas, a place that has long offered its sanctuary to the complete spectrum of Iraqi voices, and a place where the roots of democracy took hold many hundreds of years ago.

Meena Alexander
Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander is a poet and Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her fellowships include those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Arts Council of England, and New York Foundation for the Arts. In addition to three earlier volumes of poetry published in her twenties when she was in India, she has six volumes of poetry including the collections, Illiterate Heart, which won the PEN Open Book Award, Raw Silk, and Quickly Changing River. She is the editor of Indian Love Poems.

Alexander's autobiography, Fault Lines, was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 1993. She has also published two novels, Nampally Road and Manhattan Music; a book of poems and essays, The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience and two academic studies, one of which is Women in Romanticism: Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley.

A book of essays on her work, Passage to Manhattan: Essays on Meena Alexander, was published in 2009.

Romy Ruukel
Romy Ruukel

Romy Ruukel

Romy Ruukel is an Estonian-born educator and poet and an editor for PM Press. Before moving to her current home in Boston, she taught and mentored students of all ages in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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