On March 23, I had the pleasure of reading alongside Maxine Hong Kingston, Earl Kingston, Joe Lamb, Maysa Ibrahim, and Martin Wagner at Octopus Literary Salon, as part of the al-Mutanabbi street collective. The project takes its name from and examines al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, a winding street about one thousand feet long, noted for its many bookstores and outdoor bookstalls where people gathered as a great humanitarian center. Named after the famous classical Arab poet Abu at-Tayyib al-Mutanabbi (915–965 CE), it has been a thriving center of Baghdad’s bookselling and publishing for many years. On March 5, 2007, a bomb went off in the centuries old Al Mutanabbi Street book sellers district in Baghdad. The explosion took the lives of thirty people and destroyed a large portion of the neighborhood. The book sellers, who survived, rebuilt their stores and are once again in business. They sell works by Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Jews, children's books, and progressive publications from around the world.
I am honored to be named a 2017 Artsmith Fellow alongside Peter Kline, Melissa Mathewson, Jennifer Moore and Krista Varela. I very much look forward to heading to the San Juan Islands in the beginning of 2017 to dive into a group of poems that have been looking for some time and space.
I am looking forward to reading with this group of talented folks in downtown San Francisco as part of Litquake and the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.