Saadi Yousef

Saadi Yousef
at PEN World Voices 2007
Native name Arabic: سعدي يوسف
Born 1934
Abu Al-Khaseeb
Nationality Iraqi
Genre Poetry
Literary movement Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Shathel Taqa, Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati
Notable awards Al Owais Prize

Saadi Yousef (Arabic: سعدي يوسف) (born 1934 near Basra, Iraq) is an Iraqi author, poet, journalist, publisher, and political activist.[1] He has published thirty volumes of poetry and seven books of prose.[2]


Saadi Yousef studied Arabic literature in Baghdad.[1] He was influenced by the free verse of Shathel Taqa and Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati and was also involved in politics from an early age, At the time his work was heavily influenced by his socialist and pan-Arab 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, and currently he resides in London.

In 2004, the Al Owais Prize for poetry was given to Yousef . In 2007 Yousef participated in the PEN World Voices festival where he was interviewed by the Wild River Review. In 2014, Yousef's poems were banned by the Kurdistan Regional Government in school books because of a poem, where he referred to Kurdistan as "Qardistan," which loosely translates to "Monkey-istan".


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

In Anthology

  • Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, edited by Melissa Tuckey. (University of Georgia Press, 2018) ISBN 978-0820353159

Further reading

  • Huri, Yair (2006) The Poetry of Sa’di Yûsuf: Between Homeland and Exile (Sussex) ISBN 978-1-84519-148-1

See also


  1. 1 2 "Saadi Yousef". International Literature Festival Berlin. 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  2. "Saadi Yousef". The Poetry Center, Smith College. n.d. Retrieved 2007-05-08.

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