Sinan Antoon: Poetry Still Has a Home in Baghdad

It’s Thursday, and thus time for a wrestling-with Iraqi poetry. This week, Sinan Antoon writes on Al Jazeera about how “Baghdad’s appearance has changed dramatically over 10 years – but its love of poetry and writing has not”:

Sinan-Antoon-02In the essay, Antoon writes about his April 2013 visit to Baghdad:

I walked with my friend and publisher from our hotel on Abu Nuwas to al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad’s book market. I noticed something I had never seen in Baghdad before. There were so many stores selling equipment for the physically disabled.

The city he sees is, as you might imagine, not the one he left. But he goes on to talk about his publisher, Khaled al-Maaly, who participated in one of the early Q&As, and an evening of poetry:

My publisher, the Iraqi poet Khalid al-Maaly, organised a reading and book-signing at the Baghdad Poetry House right by the Tigris. I was surrounded by friends I had known for years through email, but was meeting them for the first time. The students from the Sada School, whom I had taught on Skype, were there too. The hope and thirst for life in those young eyes of my readers was my only solace. I still had a home in Baghdad. Poetry and writing was my indestructible home.

You can read the whole essay on Al Jazeera.

The Iraqi poetry series can be found here.