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Nostalgia, My Enemy

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  37 ratings  ·  10 reviews
New poetry by Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef, one of the major voices from the Arab world

The country we love was finished
before it was even born.
The country we did not love has claimed
the blood left in our veins.
—from “A Desperate Poem”

This book collects some of the best of Saadi Youssef’s most recent poems from the last decade, since the ongoing American-led war in his home co
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Graywolf Press (first published November 13th 2012)
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I often get weirded out by the imagery in modern Arabic poetry. The stuff that gets pushed out there in anthologies and in the other places where I've have limited access to it, comes off like weird overblown high-school-girl imagery. Just take a look at a grave for New York by Adonis (although, to be fair, how can we ever know how much he was channelling Lorca in New York, which would pretty much let him off the hook.) I know this is my own fault for not looking deeper. But what you get usually ...more
Andrew C.
Oct 24, 2012 Andrew C. added it
Shelves: first-reads
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I was excited to win this book as it combines two things I love independently – poetry and Middle Eastern culture.

The majority of the poems are short (one pagers), which is my preferred length.

Like any poetry collection, some of the poems are better than others - some absolutely wowed me, while others left me disappointed. Of course keep in mind this collection was translated from Arabic (a very poetic language), so despite how skilled the translators may be, it’s likely there were nuances lost
Saadi Youssef is a powerful writer. Born in iraq, he now lives in London. His words convey the longing and pain of a man exiled form his homeland, hungry for peace, brokenhearted over the conditions of his people.
His words are the words of a man who is able to tenderly articulate an ache, words that will make you wonder what is in the mind of the next quiet man you see across from you on the subway. He also writes of the beauty in the light, the bird's wing, the movement of water.

I was very hap
David Williams
A beautifully constructed collection. By turns serene and haunting, these poems are dense with image and emotion (as poems are wont to be, no?). One can feel the stagnation of life in 'Still Life', longing in 'O Nostalgia: My Enemy', and the frustration of recapitulation, repetition and routine in 'The Concerns of a Man, 2000 B.C.'. I had some ire-induced reflux while reading 'The Wretched of the Heavens'.
While I have quite a rocky history with poetry (I am partial to prose) I do like to thin
Won as part of the Goodreads first reads program.

Poetry is a particularly subjective art-form. Either you connect with it, or you don't. I wanted to like this collection, but ultimately it left me feeling cold. There was nothing that particularly spoke to me, no poems I'll feel compelled to return to. I do not expect that this will be the case for everyone however. Writing poetry is an intensely personal experience, so is reading it. I believe there are people out there to whom this collection
Matthew Metzdorf
I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Didn't know anything about this poet, but was very excited to win this book, and even more excited when I discovered that it was from Graywolf Press! This is an excellent book of poetry from a poet in exile, remembering with sadness the place that was--now overrun by war and tyranny and death squads. Often lyrical and sad, but above all important because of the fresh perspective and unique voice of Mr. Youssef.

Thanks for the book Graywolf!
To say the imagery in this book is beautiful, or that it is moving is not enough. Go read Saadi Youssef's words. Iraq as he knew is long gone, Iraq as friends knew a decade ago is gone, but there is still that love and that longing only people who are forced from home can really feel and understand. It is not an overtly emotional book of poetry, but the resilience of humanity very prevalent in almost every page.
Darren Mitton
I would only waste words attempting to describe the beauty (and sadness) in this book of verse. I highly recommend it!
Connie Black
enjoyed the majority of them, but some I just couldnt finish.
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ولد في العام 1934، في ابي الخصيب، بالبصرة (العراق).
اكمل دراسته الثانوية في البصرة.
ليسانس شرف في آداب العربية.
عمل في التدريس والصحافة الثقافية.
تنقّل بين بلدان شتّى، عربية وغربية.
شهد حروباً، وحروباً اهلية، وعرف واقع الخطر، والسجن، والمنفى.
نال جوائز في الشعر: جائزة سلطان العويس، والجائزة الايطالية العالمية، وجائزة (كافافي) من الجمعية الهلّينية.
وفي العام 2005 نال جائزة فيرونيا الإيطالية لأفضل مؤلفٍ أج
More about Saadi Youssef...
Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems الشيوعي الأخير فقط قصائد الخطوة السابعة Erotica ايروتيكا حفيد امرئ القيس

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