Nostalgia, My Enemy by Saadi Youssef
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 country of Iraq. In direct, penetrating language, translated from the original Arabic by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money, Youssef’s poems dwell on the casualties of the war, the loss of his country, the role of the writer in exile, the atrocities of Saddam Hussein, and the inhumane acts perpetrated by American military at Abu Ghraib. What emerges is the powerful voice of a writer for whom “Poetry transforms in that intimate moment which combines the current and the eternal in a wondrous embrace.”