Yusuf Saadi won the Malahat Review’s 2016 Far Horizons Poetry Award and the 2016 Vallum Chapbook Award. At other times, his writing has appeared (or is forthcoming) in magazines including Brick, the Malahat Review, Vallum, Grain, CV2, Prairie Fire, PRISM international, Hamilton Arts & Letters, This, and untethered. He is also an executive editor at Sewer Lid magazine. He holds an MA in English from the University of Victoria and currently resides in Montreal.
‘There are whispers in the letters,’ writes Yusuf Saadi in poems that search everywhere for mystery, for magic, for beauty.
‘There are whispers in the letters,’ writes Yusuf Saadi in poems that search everywhere for mystery, for magic, for beauty. And beauty speaks back, renews itself (and us) in these pages. Where other poets find moon, Saadi sees ‘moon’s kneecup,’ where others see mere daffodils, Saadi asks: ‘Do daffodils dissolve in your / unpractised inner eye?’ This is the poet who is unafraid of play: ‘Outside of Kantian space and time, do you miss dancing / in dusty basements where sex was once phenomenal?’ This, too, is the poet unafraid of the daily grind, of ‘writing poetry at night / with the rust of our lives’. Pluviophile is a beautiful, refreshing debut.
by Yusuf Saadi
At metro Joliette with my jolicoeur,
we walked to the depanneur,
discussed dasein while buying
a Perrier and a block of beurre.
Outside, minus twenty-three,
with windchill it’s real fuckery,
your back pockets warm my fingertips,
your cherry ChapStick so summery.
Take me to the everglades,
a place where flowers never fade,
but pans inside your basement wait
to fry us scrambled eggs, real buttery.
Blue sunrise on my palms, a peignoir,
a neighbour grows peonies in a baignoire,
I dreamt a homeless peintre
revealed Hochelag in a Renoir
Make love inside these old maisons
until condos sail across the St-Laurent,
The vieux-accent is extinct,
And the cordonier’s window plein noir.
Morning flurries, très légère,
someone’s shovel scrapes fragile air,
a chasse-neige is herding cloud,
The hunched man salts his spiral stairs.
Copyright © 2020
We were busy worshipping
words. Shipping worlds
through string. We held eardrums
to heartbeats to confirm
we were still alive. Someone unchained
the sun from its orbit. We watched it drift
like a curious child beyond the Oort cloud. Dimming
until it was another star in the night’s freckles
and even the day lost its name. We looked
at our hands with unfamiliarity. Trying to understand
the opaqueness of texture. Our moulting bones
discarded. Our new elbows reptilian.
The latest language stripped of meter,
rhyme, beauty. We were warned: there are no straight lines in nature.
Women sang new myths. Men planted
numbers in the soil to see if the fruits
could solve our problems. We invented
new gods and crooned when we remembered
how to brush each other’s hair. Music played
in a distant never. Insects danced
in a different hemisphere of our brain
or of the earth. We often tried to look up,
but we could only see our feet,
alien and hairless.
Copyright © 2021