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on 13 July 2011
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book for someone who's just starting to get into Rumi. The translations aren't particularily poetic and fail to capture some of the ecstasy and magic other translators do--they are very straightforward, bland and include some jarringly modern words (liberal use of "crazy", "belly button", "son of a bitch" and some other very modern American terms). On a more positive note, this isn't as extensive as with Coleman Barks's modernised reinterpretations and the translations seem to be closer to the original text. It's just that the English renditions are fairly bland and simple, which waters down the poetic strength of the originals. You need a poet to translate poetry and a comedian to translate jokes, and Ergin and Johnson seem amateurs rather than poets. However accurate a job Ergin and Johnson have done, the end result doesn't carry the full gut-punching power inherent in the original poems. The translators also spend quite some time going on about how heretical and ecstatic and powerful the material is, when there's hardly more heresy or intoxication here than you'd find in any other Rumi collections--if you're looking for some hitherto hidden, dangerous, powerful material, you will be disappointed. I could think of half a dozen Rumi collections that had similar material, with equal amounts of poetry that'd be considered heretical to fundamentalists (in both 13th century Anatolia and in the 21st century). So don't be fooled--this particular collection, despite its title and its commentaries, isn't as radical as it claims to be.

All in all, the collection includes a couple of gems, but even then I get the feeling that other translators would've rendered the basic messages more beautifully. Seekers of such beauty should go for collections translated/rendered by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin (my favourite Rumi translators of all time), Jonathan Star or Shahram Shiva. Even the rather bland and matter-of-fact Helminskis do a better job when it comes to overall style. I'd only recommend this book if you're a serious Rumi collector and want to get your hands on as many of his poems as possible.
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on 14 September 2009
This is one of my favorite Rumi collections. The poems are passionate and meaningful, and provide comfort to anyone who identifies with the confusion that life brings. This is one in my collection i can pick up and read whenever I need some inspiration from the great master. A real gem of a book for all Rumi lovers. The translations are also well done, and I prefer these to those of Coleman Banks
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on 2 November 2013
For everyone who has a living master, this is a gem. to see one masters love towards his master. also great in advise to followers, and support to the humanity. it contains so much love, if you are living at this lane you will see it. little sad about the usa way of always starting with the "I" at places, there are better ways to start a line that lets the reader see him self, rather than the "I" of someone else. also, don't care about the politics the translators do have, if you have a living master, one don't need this speculation. rumi is the big brother of sheakspear!
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on 13 February 2016
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on 11 January 2016
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