Saadi Youssef (1934-2021)

Saadi Youssef by Yaffa Phillips

We note with sadness the passing of the great, Iraq-born poet Saadi Youssef, who was 87.

For a sampling of his rich work, English readers are fortunate to have Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems, translated by Khaled Mattawa (Graywolf, 2002: link) and Nostalgia, My Enemy: Poems, translated by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money (Graywolf, 2012: link). Mohammed Saad has an obituary at Ahram Online (link). Arab Lit Quarterly also has a note on Youssef’s passing, with numerous links to poems and appreciations: (link).

Paideuma‘s forthcoming symposium on literature and war includes a tribute to Youssef by Mona Kareem. With her permission we preview that text here.

Mona Kareem is the author of three poetry collections, and most recently, the trilingual chapbook Femme Ghosts (Publication Studio). She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and is a Translator-in-Residence at Princeton University. Her translations include Octavia Butler’s Kindred into Arabic (Takween Publishing); Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within (The Operating System), longlisted for the BTBA 2017 awards; and Ra’ad Abdulqadir’s selected poems, Except for This Unseen Thread (Ugly Duckling Presse).

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