Solos on the Oud (3)
By Saadi Youssef
Translated by Khaled Mattawa
Detroit, Michigan: College for Creative Studies, 2008. Edition of 25.
11 x 10" single sheet. Letterpress printed on Somerset Velvet. English printed from hand set type. Arabic printed with polymer plates. Blind embossed map of Iraq. Printed for Al Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project.
Toby Millman: "I chose to print this work by Saadi Youssef because I empathize with the theme of the poem, the longing for one's homeland. A few years ago, I spent five months as a volunteer in a Palestinian refugee camp and interviewed refugees who shared their memories of the towns and villages that they were expelled from in 1948. At Jalazone camp which is located north of Ramallah in the West Bank, exile, loss and a longing to return was within everyone's consciousness and, as in Youssef's poem, everyone there read the newspaper, perhaps searching for a hint in the current political atmosphere which may indicate that a return is near. However, as was the atmosphere in the camp, Youssef's poem is not optimistic.
"I printed the poem on grey paper to signify the dull lack of color that accompanies life as a refuge. Colors in one's homeland are always more vivid than in a refugee camp or an adopted country. The poem itself is also printed in a light grey, fading as memories from home become more distant. The poem's original Arabic is an even lighter grey, as the refugee's original language becomes further removed from the place where it was born. And lastly, the blind embossed map of Iraq is meant to speak to the absence of one's homeland, and allude to disappearance of a national culture that happens with events such as the looting of the Iraqi National Museum and the bombing of the historic book market on Al Mutanabbi Street."
$75 (Last Copy)
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