Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He has published more than thirty books, and is considered one of the living masters of Arabic poetry. His political engagement and radical opposition to various Iraqi regimes forced him to live in exile in Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, France, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Jordan, and Syria. In addition to being a renowned poet, Youssef has translated Whitman, Cavafy, Ritsos, Lorca, Popa, Ungaretti, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Wole Soyinka into Arabic. In 2012 he received the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Prize. He lives in London.
Sinan Antoon (translator)
Sinan Antoon is an Iraqi-born poet and novelist. He has published two collections of poetry in Arabic and one in English, The Baghdad Blues. He is an associate professor at the Gallatin School, New York University.
Peter Money (translator)
Peter Money is an American poet. He lives in Vermont and has taught at Lebanon College and the Center for Cartoon Studies, and has been the director of Harbor Mountain Press. His books include Che: A Novella in Three Parts, To DayŚMinutes Only, and Finding It: Selected Poems.
Graywolf is pleased to publish a powerful new book of fifty poems by Saadi Youssef, Nostalgia, My Enemy, which includes poems from the last decade, many of them in witness to the Iraq war. In this masterful collection, Youssef writes searing poems about Abu Ghraib, torture, violence, and political exile, as well as more meditative poems about writing, London, and being far from one's birthplace. Here, Youssef is alive to language, to his own aging, and to the beauty of the natural world. What emerges is the powerful voice of a writer for whom "poetry transforms in that intimate moment which combines the current and the eternal in a wondrous embrace."
"One finds the lucidity of a watercolor painting in his transparent poems and the rhythm of daily life in their soft tone .... He is one of our major poets .... He established a new rhetoric, ascetic on the surface, but in search of essence at its core. Saadi Youssef, whose poetry is in dialogue with the history of poetry, is like no other Arab poet."