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In 2010 San Francisco poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil founded the Al-Mutanabbi Street Inventory Project to commemorate the 2007 bombing of Baghdad's famous bookselling thoroughfare, which left thirty people dead and the city's literary center devastated. Since then, Beausoleil has commissioned 261 artist books, created by artists from around the world to celebrate al-Mutanabbi Street and the resilience of the written word. This past March, a group of the books was selected for exhibition by the San Francisco Center for the Book; Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, on display at the center until May 11, includes fifty-five artist books from the inventory. The images below represent just a few of the works currently on display.
by Shell Fischer
Almost a decade after its creation, the experimental poetry movement Flarf—in which poets prowl the Internet using random word searches, e-mail the bizarre results to one another, then distill the newly found phrases into poems that are often as disturbing as they are hilarious—is showing signs of having cleared a spot among the ranks of legitimate art forms.
by Jean Hartig
On April 1 I had the joy of being in the audience at the New School in New York City for a reading by six poets of the Oulipo, or Ouvroir de littérature potentielle ("workshop of potential literature"), a writers group founded in France in 1960 by writer and mathematician Raymond Queneau and scientist François Le Lionnaisnown.
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