Richard Jeffrey Newman's Miscellany


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Poetry can only be an exploration of ideology, not a means of expressing belief in it. Reluctant to declare his ideology as the way out of alienation, [Saadi] Youssef shows how his ideology, transmuted within poetry, generates feelings of empathy and solidarity. For Youssef then, the commitment to justice and freedom stand beside his poetry, not above it. His political values, manifested in active participation in social struggle, are in reality fulfilling his abiding devotion to beauty. Justice and compassion in Youssef’s verse are presented in a sensual manner that symbolizes his individualized appreciation of harmony and balance. They are aesthetic choices first and foremost.

–Khaled Mattawa, Without An Alphabet, Without A Face: Selected Poems of Saadi Youssef