“This writer is the kind of artist that generations will go on reading…”

Leeza Ahmady, Independent Curator, Director of Asia Contemporary Art Week, New York City

“Both Wittgenstein and Thoreau can be described as transcendentalists; Yusuf qualifies, too. Like the two philosophers, he finds in his observations of the world cause for fundamental optimism. Unlike them, his writing is generally informal and devoid of pretension… No doubt the author, laughing, singing, eyes wide and sparkling, would appear mad to many of his fellows. This is to their discredit. They have forgotten (or failed to learn) how to look. Mystics, like many philosophers and artists, are too easily dismissed as lunatic or eccentric. Yusuf’s ability to see through the veil of our cultural forgetfulness informs his aesthetic imagination and invigorates his art… Reading Yusuf’s poetry, I’m reminded that every step is a psalm, every directed gaze is a prayer.” – Christopher Reiger, Artist & Writer for Hungry Hyaena

“This is lovely, moving work, with a sense of mystery, and the possibility of unexpected discovery, forever at hand. At times open ended, elusive, and abstract, Yusuf Misdaq’s poems can also be bold, emphatic, and unafraid.” – Khaled Hosseini, Author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

“Dare to read aloud —to savor more deeply— this book of poems by the young English/Afghan Yusuf Misdaq, either alone or with someone you love, and you may find yourself forgetting who you are, and where, and without a care in the world. You will have been in an enchanted verbal soundscape of indubitable genius that only real poets can make their own… The author feels no reluctance to bare his love for the Koran, nor any need to apologize for some astutely angular social commentary.” – Prof. Ernest McClain, Author of Myth of Invariance: The Origin of the Gods, Mathematics and Music from the RG Veda to Plato, & Meditations Through the Quran: Tonal Images in an Oral Culture

“This is very moving. [It] runs the gamut from immediate sensation to meditation or contemplation… Lovely.” – Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, Poet & Author of Chants for the Beauty Feast, and A Maddening Disregard for the Passage of Time

“Yusuf Misdaq’s poems are green with music, they move and shimmy with fantasy, they sing of loss and desire, they aspire not only to the condition of musicality we find in the great Troubadour songs but they are also haunted by the mystical hypnotic rhythms of another great 13th century poet who, like Misdaq, came from Afghanistan: Jalaluddin Rumi… Both the Troubadours and Rumi longed to be joined with the Beloved, to attain a paradise through dreams and images… Throughout this journey we can both hear and see as we make our way into Yusuf Misdaq’s potentially visionary world” – Raficq Abdulla MBE, Poet & Author of Rumi: Words of Paradise

“Brighton-based beatnik rapper-producer Yoshi is of Afghan origin and makes opium-scented, idyllic hip-hop that hankers for a new Daisy Age…. Seguing of musical scenery and ecstatic bursts of citrus, electric energy… Some sort of acid, childhood flashback… Saved from lazy, looping trip-hop tropery by lateral sound leaps and abrupt left-turns… Yoshi’s art, as well as his heart, is in the right place.”

David Stubbs, The WIRE

“Yoshi is a real one-man DIY operation, thankfully without ever compromising quality… Marrying DJ Shadow’s aural patchwork approach with Danger Mouse’s disregard for sample chiefing, Yoshi is patently enjoying complete freedom of sound… Beautiful.” – Adam Anonymous, Hip-Hop Connection

“Something to behold.” – Dino Lull, Metro Spirit, Augusta GA

“Each time I find more to listen to within… Both politically engaged and musically interesting, (especially some of the drum rhythms)… The command of the rap idiom is admirable and the variety of textures remarkable.” – John Baily, Professor of Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths, University of London

“Yoshi comes from a world where Sergio Leone, the RZA, anti-establishment politics, Middle Eastern strife, ambient Hip Hop, Akira Kurosawa and potent skunk exist in harmony… Managing to sound both ominous and chilled at the same time.” – Nick Southall, Stylus Magazine

“Joshi, tu eres un DJ en nivel internacional, un DJ de verdad, a musician that, every minute of you transmits life” – Stefanos Makridis, Cultural Critic

“A dope beat-maker… Truly, one of the most interesting I’ve heard from these shores…” – Kal, UKHH.com

“A blurb-resistant invitation into the diffuse, muted glory of the everyday… [‘Narayan’ is…] A brave story of subtle survival in a place so utterly (yet not entirely) disconnected as London.”

Dr. James Caron, South Asia Department, SOAS, University of London

“Yusuf Misdaq wrote ‘The Steep Ascent’ in its entirety during Ramadan… and you will feel the most special and powerful of months in the soul of this book, just as you’ll feel this book in your own soul. I responded to this novel as we respond to bread and to stars, because there is both a serious moral weight and a wonderful playful light in it, beautifully modulated from page to page. I was moved by the alternation, and fell so profoundly under its sway that I finished the book in one day, never thinking to stop once I had started and taking profound enjoyment and satisfaction as its adventures unfolded in Yusuf’s skillful poem-like prose. I laughed a countless number of times. Yet I felt humbled when I finished because I knew that I had just glimpsed flashes of real inspiration…” – Zainab Mahmood, Writer & scholar

“Like most Science-Fiction writers, Misdaq holds up a damning mirror to our times and shows the ugliness, corruption and insanity at play by taking these elements to their natural conclusion in a possible future timeline. But, to call Misdaq a Science-Fiction writer would do him a disservice. His protagonist [in ‘Pieces of a Paki’…] , Jonathan, is the serial outsider, awkward, shy, quiet, from a home shattered but not yet broken… Steeped heavily in fairytale and airy dreams… A simple yet sly indictment of life in the last 5 years and where it’ll send us if we continue to worship at the altar of celebrities and [perpetuate] fictional wars. Misdaq shares the wide-eyed optimism leading to weary worldliness exhibited by bands like Belle and Sebastian and Radiohead. His prose is sweet, simple and free of oppositional metaphor. As a musician, he weaves poetry and rhythm into the delicate writing and develops a world for us that is both all too real and “far out dude” at the same time… Before reading this, I couldn’t have recommended his music enough, now get ahold of these reading materials… Get on board with this completely independent, self-financed, self-reliant artist now.” – Nikesh Shukla, Novelist

“What makes it good: This is a witty cocktail of a novel:’Trainspotting’ meets ‘Matilda’ meets ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’…There are some extremely funny and memorable moments in this novel [‘Pieces of a Paki’], one of my favourite being ‘the cracker incident’ and without giving too much away, it’s worth reading just to visualise a drunk mother’s violent attempt to make a child part of their own intoxicated imperfect world. I disagree that this is a utopian novel; the main character may well display tremendous strength and hope thorugh desperate times, but the not so distant future, is in fact, an oblique, obsolete, and dire time for mankind. Don’t be fooled by Misdaq’s humour, there is plenty of dark satire in this novel, and it’s damn good. What makes it special?: The novel is a poetic journey of a young mans search for himself. It is written very well, at times, lyrical, and the imagery and descriptions of the world the reader sees through Hutton’s eyes, is like a Dali painting. There are some very very funny moments in this book where you think ‘what the —-? is that possible?’ for example, the way Jonathan becomes a crack addict- very unusual. Expect the unexpected. What limits it: the reader’s imagination.” – Navdeep Kalsi, Amazon review

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2 Comments

  1. Benneh
    May 13, 2013

    Salaam Yusuf,
    Lovit it, very creative, as usual. Saw my name, haha thanks for including me. It’s a really good idea to put your work up like this; I’m watching your documentaries now :). Great job! :)

    Reply
    • Karinthia
      May 19, 2016

      Walking in the prseence of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

      Reply

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