Pluviophile veers through various poetic visions and traditions in search of the sacred within and beyond language. Its poems continually revitalize form, imagery and sonancy to reconsider the ways we value language, beauty and body. The collection houses sonnets and other shorter poems between larger, more meditative runes. One of these longer poems, “The Place Words Go to Die,” winner of The Malahat Review’s 2016 Far Horizons Award for Poetry, imagines an underworld where words are killed and reborn, shedding their signifiers like skin to re-enter a symbiotic relationship with the human, where “saxum [is] sacrificed and born again as saxifrage.” From here the poems shift to diverse locations, from Montreal to Kolkata, from the moon to the gates of heaven.
“‘Poetry is news / that stays beautiful,’ is a claim that Yusuf Saadi asserts and proves in Pluviophile. This collection—which rhymes ‘buttery’ with ‘fuckery’ and ‘windows’ with ‘Calypso’—is a love letter to language. Whether writing a ‘Sonnet by a Forgotten Twix Wrapper’ or a ‘Love Poem for Nusaybah’s Hijab,’ Saadi treats all of his subjects with attention and care, playing deft and unforgettable music wherever he goes. It’s rare to read a debut so masterful in its techniques and assured in its voice. In an age stuffed with filler words, where ‘we Twitter, Tinder, Tumblr through eternity,’ Saadi shows us there is still power and meaning in language. I emerged from reading Pluviophile awake and refreshed.”
“I respect all kinds of poets; I love the ones who are in love with language. But Yusuf Saadi is not only a connoisseur of word-music—he is also a master of striking imagery, and he writes with dynamic curiosity and fully wakened senses. This is a debut to celebrate.”