From L.A. To Baghdad, American Artists Remember Al-Mutanabbi Street, co-presented by The Markhaz and the Los Angeles Review of Books

Sunday, March 5th, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.


On the 10th anniversary of the bombing of Baghdad’s venerated literary-café district, Al-Mutanabbi Street, American poets and writers from around the world will gather to remember the terrible destruction that took place on March 5, 2007. From L.A. to Baghdad, American Artists Remember Al-Mutanabbi Street, a dedicated festival spun out of the anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, will be one of more than two dozen similar programs happening in cities around the U.S. and internationally, coordinated by the editors of the anthology. The LA event, featuring readings by 10 poets & writers including Sholeh Wolpé, India Radfar, Mark Levine, Dima Hilal, and others, and art by Iraqi-American artist Paul Batou, will be co-presented by The Markhaz  and LARB,  and is free to the public (donations graciously accepted). RSVP, 310.657.5511  


Sholeh Wolpé is an award-winning Iranian-American poet and literary translator. She was born in Iran, and has lived in Trinidad, England and United States.


India Radfar is the author of three books of poetry: India Poem, the desire to meet with the beautiful, Breathe, and one chap book, 12 Poems That Were Never Written. Her new book of poems, Position and Relation, is forthcoming from Station Hill Press.

paul-batouPaul Batou, a native Iraqi artist, received a degree in pharmacy in 1982 from the University of Baghdad, where he also worked with and was inspired by many teachers and artists.  In 1980, he had his first art show in Baghdad and during those years showed his art in several galleries , and was eventually forced into service for the Iraq-Iran war as a medic. In 1989, he left Iraq with his family and moved to Los Angeles. In the U.S., he has exhibited in several group shows and presented solo exhibits.

mark-levine-266Mark LeVine is an American professor of history at the University of California, Irvine . An author as well as a musician, LeVine spent time in Baghdad exploring the Al-Mutanabbi Street district. He speaks ArabicHebrewTurkish, and Persian, as well as ItalianFrench and German. He has traveled and lived widely in the Middle East and his books include Why They Don’t Hate Us, Lifting the Veil on the Axis of EvilHeavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islamand One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States.

dima-hilal-266Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Dima Hilal is an Arab American poet whose work has appeared widely in a number of anthologies and reviews, among them The Poetry of Arab Women, a Contemporary Anthology (editor, Nathalie Handal) and Scheherazade’s Legacy: Arab and Arab American Women on Writing, (editor, Susan Muaddi Darraj), and the San Francisco Chronicle, Orion Literary Journal, and Aramco.