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The al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project originated in Baghdad, Iraq after a car bombing on al-Mutanabbi Street devastated the thousand-year-old book market, killing several dozen people, injuring hundreds, and destroying a traditional center for literacy and debate in Iraq’s capital city in 2007. Had I been in Baghdad on that day, I too would be gone. 

John Cutrone, Director of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts responded to a call for support, by asking South Florida printers and book artists to do a workshop that could produce editions of broadsheets to raise funds. The original call supported Iraqi poets and Doctors Without Borders in 2008.  Burn is the first broadsheet that I printed. The response of John Cutrone and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts is one of many that continue to this day’ recognizing cultural treasures that reside inside artists and writers around the globe, through print.

Writing by Al-Mutanabbi (warrior/poet, AD 915-965), and Dethe Elza. Art, design, and printing by Tom Virgin. 

Colophon: On March 7, 2007 a car bomb was detonated on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq. For over a thousand years this street has been know for its books, book sellers, publishers, conversation and ideas. On that day smoke billowed, and dirt, blood, paper, fire and ash rained down. Thirty people died, and over 100 were injured. The Mutanabbi Street Coalition commemorates the victims and promotes healing through its support of Doctors Without Borders and Iraqui Poets. 

This broadsheet uses Adobe Caslon Pro, wood type, Boxcar polymer plates, linoleum plates and blind debossed wood type with hand coloring. Half of the edition of 60 was sent to Iraq. Printed on Rives BFK and signed by the poet and the artist.


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