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Nostalgia, My Enemy

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  12 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 Amer
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Graywolf Press (first published November 13th 2012)
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Mesut Bostancı
May 03, 2013 Mesut Bostancı rated it really liked it
Shelves: arabic
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
Lisa M.
May 10, 2017 Lisa M. rated it liked it
Favorite poems are - Prologue: On Poetry, O Nostalgia: My Enemy, No Play, and Bees Visit Me.
Andrew Chase
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2013 Valarie rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2012 lisa rated it really liked it
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
Oct 15, 2012 David Williams rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2012 Erdahs rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jan 29, 2013 Matthew Metzdorf rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 11, 2013 Zarín rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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.
Hugo Rios-cordero
Oct 21, 2015 Hugo Rios-cordero rated it really liked it
Me gusto el tema de la perdida que se plantea Youssef y si bien en su caso se refiere a su patria me parece que esta patria no es tanto un concepto politico sino algo muy personal mas allá de las fronteras.
Connie Black
Jan 29, 2013 Connie Black rated it liked it
enjoyed the majority of them, but some I just couldnt finish.
Darren Mitton
Oct 09, 2012 Darren Mitton rated it it was amazing
I would only waste words attempting to describe the beauty (and sadness) in this book of verse. I highly recommend it!
Keith rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2014
Austin Smith
Austin Smith rated it did not like it
Jan 08, 2013
Marcia Lynx
Marcia Lynx rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2013
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Aug 18, 2013
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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...

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Where is the scent of cloves coming from?
her hair?
or her dress
thrown on the Tunisian rug?
From the third step in the house?
makes everything smell of cloves.
is the orchard when it’s wet.
She is
what the orchard breathes
when it’s watered at night.
Layla knows now
that I am drunk with the scent of cloves,
she stiches together my clouds
and then scatters them together
in a sky like a sheet
as she clasps me.
feels that my fingers are numb,
over the dunes she knows
my pulse is hers,
my water is hers.
leaves me sleeping,
rocking between clouds
and cloves.”
“You took to the trenches and said: war is more beautiful,
you shall never see my feet again.
I will seek the roads and taverns,
I am the blind poet.
The frowning autumn gives music for colors –
sunset gives me the opulence of roses
and I ask about you. I ask about you
but as a stung man does after something has afflicted his blood.
Peace be . . .
– I do not want your reply.”
More quotes…