Customer Review

68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, and a great introduction to Rumi's thought, 22 April 2006
This review is from: Rumi: A Spiritual Treasury (Hardcover)
I have several books on Rumi that I have bought over the years, and originally I got this for a friend. I liked it so much I bought a copy for myself, and it is definitely my favourite collection of Rumi's poetry.

Not only is the translation by far the best I have come across so far (and it is now the standard by which I judge all the rest) but the selection is very thoughtful and the categories so useful for both reading through and dipping into that I find my other Rumi books oddly disatisfying or even irritating.

By far the MOST irritating is the Coleman Barks edition, which, even with the rather grandiose adjective "Essential" in the title, comes across as a highly dubious and unconvincing "translation". In fact, some parts sound so completely made up by the translator, you get the impression you are reading 20th century Coleman Barks, not Rumi at all. Instead of reading some of the greatest gems of Sufi thought, you find yourself transposed to a strange American alternate universe.

But I suspect it is also personal taste. For me, this spiritual treasury really does live up to its title - spiritually uplifting and a joy to read.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2013 22:33:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Sep 2013 22:41:05 BDT
articoceanic says:
Coleman barks has been a poisoned chalice for Rumi.

His rendering of other peoples translations (he knows no Persian, so uses others translations to rewrite them) has turned what is majestic poetry about spirituality and the human soul, into a teenage pop song about carnal lust.

Seriously depressing that his reworking of the translations are so geared to such a massive misunderstanding of the meanings of Rumi's poetry.

Rumi's poetry is and always was about enlightenment, of the human soul abandoning materialism, carnal existence and attaining enlightenment by becoming one with the love of the Creator (god). it is about the Sufi path, of polishing the human heart, of becoming a being of pure heart, a heart not distorted by ugliness, but like the full moon reflecting serenely the light of god.

Rumi's poetry talks of the different stages the human soul takes in its voyage of purification in this world, to reach a state pure enough to finally meet God. It talks of trials and tribulations, of purifications, of attachments, or ignorance, of enlightenment. It is about life and love, not romance and lust. Freedom through servitude. Not about slavery through attachment.

Anyone who does not realise this overriding message in Rumi's poetry will ultimately translate, rewrite, misunderstand it as nothing more than a romeo and juliet piece. Coleman barks version might as well have been translations of Taylor Swift songs, as it completely misses the mark.

its a travesty sadly, how the meaning is destroyed in bark's verbosity, twisted into an ugly thing.
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