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HALL OF FAMEon 22 November 2005
Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.
This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.
'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'
Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.
'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'
From the lofty sentiments...
'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?'
...to the simple observations...
'Drunks fear the police,
but the police are drunks too.
People in this town love them both
like different chess pieces.'
Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.
In the middle of the night
I cried out,
"Who lives in this love
I have?"
You said, "I do, but I'm not here
alone. Why are these other images
with me?"
Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)
Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.
In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.
There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.
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on 8 November 2006
True, Coleman Barks does not speak Persian or Arabic. And he is the first to admit that his is not a literal translation. Instead, Barks has worked with translations into Turkish, intended to preserve the spirit of Rumi's poetry, and in has aimed to do the same. In this, I feel he has had phenomenal success.

This collection truly transmits the power and energy of Rumi's inspiration- invoking Plato's image (in the Ion) of the magnet as the muse, and the poet as the first iron ring attached to the magnet, absorbing its force, and transmitting the same force to the audience further along the line. I think this book brings strengthens the current for the English speaking audience, and hence channels a greater amount of the inspiration which makes Rumi's poetry so remarkable.

Not one for stuffy academics, but this book will touch your soul if you open to it.
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on 24 November 1998
Whether you're contemplating Rumi in a meadow or while stuck in traffic, his eloquence reaches across the centuries to move you.
I highly recommend this book for anyone just beginning their study. The introduction and accompanying editorial comments provide a starting point for personal perspective.
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HALL OF FAMEon 21 December 2005
Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.
This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.
'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'
Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.
'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'
From the lofty sentiments...
'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?'
...to the simple observations...
'Drunks fear the police,
but the police are drunks too.
People in this town love them both
like different chess pieces.'
Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.
In the middle of the night
I cried out,
"Who lives in this love
I have?"
You said, "I do, but I'm not here
alone. Why are these other images
with me?"
Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)
Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.
In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.
There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.
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VINE VOICEon 5 October 2005
This is a poor collection.....
Try the translations by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin - Whispers of the Beloved and Gardens of the Beloved - they are a million times more beautiful than this.
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on 2 September 2001
I find the work of Rumi a wonderful guide to life and listening to my soul. These translations mean I can access the teachings of Rumi and they capture the essence and energy in the work. Highly recommended
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HALL OF FAMEon 21 December 2005
Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.
This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.
'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'
Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.
'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'
From the lofty sentiments...
'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?'
...to the simple observations...
'Drunks fear the police,
but the police are drunks too.
People in this town love them both
like different chess pieces.'
Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.
In the middle of the night
I cried out,
"Who lives in this love
I have?"
You said, "I do, but I'm not here
alone. Why are these other images
with me?"
Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)
Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.
In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.
There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.
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on 3 September 1999
In reference to the reader thinking C. Barks is either a 1) "masterful translator" or 2)"an exceptional original poet". The answer: neither one. 1) He didn't translate anything, he merely simplified/abbreviated the translations of A.J. Arberry (in the world of translations and artistic translations, this "deriving from someone elses' translations" is the easiest path one can take). 2) He's certainly not a "poet". To be a "poet", one must write "poetic pieces" on their own.
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on 19 June 2007
Not the best Rumi stuff out there, and listen if this is your first introduction to this great master you'd do better to get another Rumi book.
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on 15 January 2013
heard so much about Rumi so i decided to purchase some of these books & as a first time reader on Rumis works i've got to say these books are very heart touching & inspirational, a must buy.
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