Yousef, Saadi (1934–) By Webster, Annie
Saadi Yousef is an Iraqi poet, author, journalist, and political activist. He has published 45 volumes of poetry, nine books of prose, several essays and has translated various literary works into Arabic. Yousef’s socialist sympathies and opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime forced him to leave Iraq in 1979 and live in exile in a range of countries before settling in London in 1999. Often referred to as one of the most influential figures in modern Arabic poetry, he was a key proponent of the twentieth-century movement away from traditional Arabic poetics. Yousef’s poetry is distinctive in its use of free verse and its attention to personal experiences of political realities. Although his poetry reflects upon the turbulent conditions in Iraq, it also engages with a range of wider socio-political contexts in the Arab World.