Arts·Poetic License

Yusuf Saadi's poems are like the introspective thoughts that come up on a long walk on a cold day

"On St-Hubert a toothless snowman stares into my window, smiles. This wintry air is anaesthetic — ringing glass-on-glass of interlocking crystals."

'On St-Hubert a toothless snowman stares into my window, smiles. This wintry air is anaesthetic'

Yusuf Saadi's poems are like the introspective thoughts that come up on a long walk on a cold day

CBC Arts

9 days ago
0:54
"On St-Hubert a toothless snowman stares into my window, smiles. This wintry air is anaesthetic — ringing glass-on-glass of interlocking crystals." 0:54

It's National Poetry Month, and for the fifth edition of Poetic License, we decided to celebrate short poems from poets across Canada. In these illustrated videos, you'll hear from emerging talent, award-winning poets and poets laureate, plus the three Canadians on the Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist — the world's largest international prize for a first-edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English.

Montreal-based Yusuf Saadi expresses himself through poetry in a genuinely unique way. His poems are like the introspective thoughts that come up on a long walk on a cold day.

His first collection of poetry, Pluviophile — which was selected for CBC Books' summer reading list last year — is on the Canadian shortlist for the Griffin Poetry Prize.  

Listen to Yusuf Saadi perform Root Canal, an excerpt from his Griffin Poetry Prize-shortlisted book, Pluviophile, in the video above and read the poem below.

Root Canal

by Yusuf Saadi

-----

Tie a string around my tooth and pull.
Offshore dental rigs won't drill this skull
for secrets. In my mother's tongue I love
you intimates I want you as my home.
In her kingdom, wand'ring minstrels croon
to cooling kadams, soothe bare gums with paan.

On St-Hubert a toothless snowman stares
into my window, smiles. This wintry air
is anaesthetic — ringing glass-on-glass
of interlocking crystals. Walking past
his porch I hear him sing in frozen key,
Novocaine would numb your face,
you'd never learn to love a place,
my abscess lulls to ancient melody.

-----

See more from Poetic License.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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