Saadi Yousef

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Saadi Yousef () (born 1934 near Basra, Iraq) is an Iraqi author, poet, journalist, publisher, and political activist.


Saadi Yousef studied Arabic literature in Baghdad. He was influenced by the free verse of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Shathel Taqa and Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati and was also involved in politics from an early age, leaving the country permanently in 1979 after Saddam Hussein's rise to power. At the time his work was heavily influenced by his socialist and anti-imperialist sympathies but has since also taken a more introspective, lyrical turn. He has also translated many well known writers into Arabic, including Oktay Rifat, Melih Cevdet Anday, Garcia Lorca, Yiannis Ritsos, Walt Whitman and Constantine Cavafy. Since leaving Iraq, Yousef has lived in many countries, including Algeria, Lebanon, France, Greece, Cyprus, Yugoslavia and currently he resides in London.

In 2007 Yousef participated in the PEN World Voices festival where he was interviewed by the Wild River Review.


  • Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems translated by Khaled Mattawa (Graywolf, 2002) ISBN 1-55597-371-X

Further reading

  • Huri, Yair (2006) The Poetry of Sa’di Yûsuf: Between Homeland and Exile (Sussex) ISBN 9781845191481


External links

  • - a British......
  • ...

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