SHS poets to be published

September 22, 2008 — by Pia Mishra and Lauren Kuan

Last spring, students from Judith Sutton’s Creative Writing: Poetry classes put on a presentation at the Saratoga Library portraying the Mutanabbi Street bombing in Iraq. The bombing took place in March 2007 and devastated the entire street, which had served for several years as a lively market where ideas, books and thoughts were exchanged freely. Not only were all books destroyed, but some 75 people were seriously injured and 30 people died.

The poetry students wanted to spread knowledge of the attack’s impact. The reading left the audience with a call to action: How could they help? Their answer was a press publisher by the name
name of Studio 1801.

Mike Day, a publisher and artist, who teaches a letter press printing class at Foothill College, was extremely impressed by the students’ work. He passed out the 27 poems to his publishing class and asked them if they were interested in working with the poems. It was a unanimous decision; these were excellent pieces that deserved to be published.

The publishing company, in association with Foothill College, agreed to help the cause by publishing all the poems presented by the students on the subject of the Mutanabbi Street bombing in Baghdad on March 5, 2007 earlier into a limited edition book, to be printed through letterpress printing, which engraves the poems into a hard surface. It’s a difficult process that is often used for professional prose and is a huge honor for the students.

The students have yet to finalize the name of the book but have been tossing around a few ideas. The publishing date is currently scheduled for late November.

The books will be sold to SHS community in order to raise funds for a man who was injured during the bombings.

In addition to this upcoming book, two of the 27 poems have been also selected to be put in a national anthology of poetry. The book Mutanabbi Street Starts Here features many famous American poets including Adrienne Rich. The two SHS poets featured in the anthology are Dilara Cirit and Niamh McGinley, both 2008 graduates.

Both Cirit and McGinley have won multiple awards and have had their poems published all over the nation. Sutton believes the book will have a stronger impact than the presentation did as it will reach so many people.

“Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is more than a title,” said Sutton. “Mutanabbi Street started here in the books and in its writing. When the street was attacked in Baghdad, it impacted more than the Iraqis. It impacted people all over the world who value culture as books work the center of civilization.”

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