Perro Verlag Books by Artists

September 13, 2009

New Broadside from Perro Verlag

Filed under: Books by Artists — perroverlag @ 11:05 pm










Mutanabbi Street is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the 10th century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, this street is the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Mutanabbi Street. At least 30 people were killed and 100 were wounded.

The Mutanabbi Street Coalition––made up of poets, writers, artists, booksellers, printers and readers––was formed soon afterwards, in response to not just the tragic loss of life, but also to the idea of a targeted attack on a street where ideas have always been exchanged. The coalition recognizes the commonality of Mutanabbi Street with any street that leads to a bookstore or cultural institution, in this country or any country.

The coalition’s work benefits Doctors Without Borders, a non-profit agency working to relieve suffering in Iraq and other troubled areas of our globe. If the work of the coalition has moved you, we ask you to please consider a contribution to this fine organization.

The Mutanabbi Street Coalition was founded by San Francisco poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil. The poets, translators, printers and artists of the coalition have given unselfishly to this project, and many others have given much of their time and talents. The coalition wishes to offer special recognition to Kathleen Walkup, Lisa Rappoport, John DeMerritt Bookbinding, The Key Printing & Binding, Rijin Sahakian, Florida Atlantic University Libraries, Lisa Beth Robinson, and John Cutrone & Seth Thompson.

This historic Mutanabbi Street Coalition project––one of only ten in the world––will remain at Florida Atlantic University Libraries, and will be permanently housed at the Arthur & Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts, 3rd floor east of the Wimberly Library.

Florida Atlantic University Libraries will be digitizing the full collection of broadsides by the Mutanabbi Street Coalition. This digital collection now has a home on the Internet and may be viewed by people around the globe through the Jaffe Center for Book Arts website or through the FAU Digital Library website:

Having recently acquired a Chandler and Price Platen Letterpress, we thought the broadside would be a wonderful project to focus on. The quote we chose for our broadside is from the book Orbis Sensualium Pictus (1658) by the Czech education reformer, Johannes Amos Comenius.  This book was unique in its day for both its conception and appearance and initiated a new tradition in school textbooks designed to be put in the hands of the children themselves. Comenius’ use of numerous illustrations and the vernacular language alongside the Latin were radical innovations that departed markedly from the traditional grammar school textbooks that were written in Latin only, without any illustrations.

In thinking about our broadside we studied a facsimile edition of Comenius’ book and chose the first section titled The World, for our text. Our woodcut illustrations refer to the simplicity and beauty of the book’s images. In keeping with the original appearance of the book, we restricted ourselves to black and white for the text and illustrations. We printed the words Al-Mutanabbi Street in bright blue – closely corresponding, we hope, to the colour of the sky. The broadside is printed on Arches BFK cream and is 18″ x 11.5″.


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