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A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  370 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Daniel Ladinsky’s stunning interpretations of 365 soul-nurturing poems—one for each day of the year—by treasured Persian lyric poet Hafiz

The poems of Hafiz are masterpieces of sacred poetry that nurture the heart, soul, and mind. With learned insight and a delicate hand, Daniel Ladinsky explores the many emotions addressed in these verses. His renderings, presented here i
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Penguin Books (first published May 30th 2011)
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Miroku Nemeth
Dec 20, 2011 Miroku Nemeth rated it really liked it
Hafiz is one of the greatest poets. Ever. Love, illumination, intoxication. Some beautiful poems in this collection.

While there is much to be appreciated in the work, there are many parts where Ladinsky has been so free with his contemporary "interpretation" that it is actually insulting to both Hafiz, Muslims, and the Sufis or at least he does not adhere to what is authentically in the original text.

For example, in "Lie Around and Get Zonked Out", he writes:

God in human form, as some call the
Jun 12, 2012 Rachel rated it did not like it
When I first bought this I had no idea that the author had taken liberties with the translations to try and make them more hip and contemporary. Batting averages and prom queens do not belong in Hafiz poems. Just, no.
David Crumm
Feb 03, 2012 David Crumm rated it it was amazing
Love Rumi? Meet Hafiz. And, turn, turn through a year.

No less a giant of American literature than Ralph Waldo Emerson called Hafiz “the prince of Persian poets,” so Hafiz’s poetry certainly is no flash-in-the-pan discovery. He’s not as famous as the great Rumi, who these days journalists describe as “the world’s best-selling poet in English.” If you’re reading this review, you almost certainly know a bit about Rumi’s short, mystical poems with spiritual yearnings that often seem to ache long aft
Nancy McKinley
Dec 20, 2014 Nancy McKinley rated it really liked it
The author states in the introduction that there are many paths to Hafiz, as in the many ways this Persian poet's work can be interpreted and translated. Hafiz's wonderful poetry contains double meanings and Daniel Ladinsky's take on it is superb.

Ladinsky himself resides in the pages along with Hafiz himself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this clever poetry written with a slight edge and an off-the-wall wit.

This was my second Hafiz book, having read "The Gift". I am planning on a third.
David Roberts
Daniel Ladinsky does a brilliant job complilng and interpreting these classic poems from Hafiz. I choose a daily reading book of poems every year, and this is the most enjoyable of all I have read. While wise and insightful, Hafiz will be remembered by me primarily for his sense of humor, often self deprecating, which he uses liberally to highlight our human condition.

From December 30th:

"Out of a great need we are holding hands and climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen, the terrain around
Dec 26, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a poem each day this year, and it's been one of the highlights of my reading. I was first introduced to the Sufi mystics in a history of Islam class in college, and I really liked their spiritual exuberance, but this was my first in-depth experience with a Sufi poet, and I loved it. Hafiz's words, and Ladinsky's sparkling translations were at times humorous, at times soulful, and always thought-provoking. Just what I needed, and I think next year I'll go back and read them all ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly uplifting and inspiring book of poems. The poems are inspired by Hafiz (rather than actually by Hafiz), but who cares when its such beautiful writing?
Nov 12, 2013 Fabienne rated it it was ok
Too supermarket. I understand it is an interpretation of Hafiz 's poetry, but really, he killed it.
Christy Baker
Dec 30, 2016 Christy Baker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I fell in love with Hafiz when I first heard this poetry while taking an Exploring Islam class in seminary. I'd been familiar with Rumi, but Hafiz...ah, Hafiz was breathtaking in the beauty of the language. I've seen several different translations of the Sufi poet's work and by his own declaration, Ladinsky has intentionally modernized much of the language and context, but the rhythm and intent, the ecstasy and the ordinary co-reside here in accessible verse that feels true to the meaning of cel ...more
Dec 24, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing
This book was filled with inspiration and beauty through ecstatic poetry. My copy is filled with dog-eared pages and lots of underlining to come back to when I need something encouraging to meditate on. I'm grateful for Ladinsky/Hafiz's work.
Dec 21, 2016 Keval rated it it was ok
I have to say some translations didn't work for me. Inasmuch as the intention may have been to make the originals more accessible, some of the contemporary references left a weird aftertaste.
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Jul 04, 2016 Erika B. (SOS BOOKS) rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
One Regret

One regret, dear world, that I am determined
not to have when I am lying on my deathbed
is that I did not kiss you enough.

3.888 stars! I truly enjoyed this book of poetry. Some of the poems have an unexpected bite of wit to them that I didn't expect and really liked. SO-I'll just leave my other favorites below!

Two Giant Fat People

God and I have become like two giant
fat people living in a tiny boat;
we keep bumping into each other and

Brings Life to a Field

It is not possible to
Michael Bevin
Jun 21, 2016 Michael Bevin rated it it was ok
At first glance it looks like this might be a nice 'best of' collection of Hafiz poems ... which would be an easy 6-stars .... but then it turns out that most of my favourite, and the generally more loved, Hafiz poems (such as many found in Daniel Ladinsky's other translated books) are missing, and a lot of what's rather been selected is a bit different from the usual Hafiz fare I was expecting - often feeling a bit tooo far from the Hafiz 'spirit/feel', and from whatever Hafiz poems/texts these ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Andrew rated it it was ok
I resolved on January 9th, 2013 to spend my own year with Hafiz: I would read and contemplate one poem from this book everyday, and even make pencil marks in the margins. That resolution lasted all the way to January 17th, when I read "Watch out for spiritual la-la land": the imagery of traffic jams on the highway and oral sex really threw me off.

I hadn't realized before then that Ladinsky had been so liberal in his translations of the Hafiz classics. Frankly, what I had taken from the 9th throu
Judy A
Jan 17, 2013 Judy A rated it it was amazing
Spiritual, illuminating, profound, and very deep in content. I've made photo albums with themes and images that were inspired by the ideas in this book. Each presents a vast idea or thought with meaning specific to the reader. Often I did not realize the full meanings until something happens and I reflect on it. Often more than one meaning. "How to listen to others? As if everyone were my Master speaking to me, his cherished last word. How do I listen to you? As if you were the Alpha and Omega o ...more
Aug 26, 2012 David rated it liked it
Why only 3 stars when other books of his are among my favorites? I had the sense he was writing to meet the quota of 365, and the ratio of the poems that felt inspired versus formulaic was too low. He also "goes modern" too often, by which I mean bringing in modern-day slang, concepts, or being overly cute, which shatters the illusion that the poems are translations of the Hafiz originals and leaves them as Ladinsky originals. "The Gift" or "The Subject Tonight is Love" are much more highly reco ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it
I understand that reading lines of Hafiz daily -- like those of Tagore -- form a spiritual practice for many. Daniel Ladinsky brings that practice with his renderings of Hafiz, many of them stirringly beautiful. A few jarred my senses as too contemporary, but part of the pleasure of this collection is to share Ladinsky's appreciation of one of the world's greatest spiritual poets, so when I met one of those moments, I had a chance to sit back and consider how we each meet and live with reverence ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Elle rated it liked it
I'm a big lover of Hafiz's work (and Ladinsky's, too) but this collection of poems/translations missed the mark a bit for me. Other readers have mentioned finding the inclusion of modern references jarring and I agree -- although I appreciated Ladinsky's creativity and playfulness, it interrupted the flow a little. Still, it's lovely little collection of poems and a nice concept (to read a poem per day for a year and nourish yourself with his wisdom and imagination and humour, bit by bit).
Jun 28, 2016 Keith rated it it was amazing
After reading Rumi, i turned to Hafiz. This book was a wonderful introduction to the poet. i found myself laughing out loud at the unexpected and sometimes uncouth. Other times i a poem would lead to personal reflection and insight into myself and humanity. Most of all, Hafiz helps one live in the present and embrace the goodness and beauty of existence... and who doesn't need some of that?
Feb 13, 2015 Jerad rated it it was ok
Readers expecting some translated Hafiz will be disappointed. In other media Ladinsky has said that for this book Hafiz came to him in dreams and this book is a record of those dream poems.

As poetry it's mostly fine - some are insightful, some are laughable - but a reader expecting to learn about Hafiz or believing that they are reading the master will be sorely disappointed.
Mar 30, 2013 James rated it it was amazing
An awesome and well-organized presentation of material by "the poet of poets". I am not normally a poetry reader, but these poems are very accessible, down-to-earth and at the same time highly metaphorical...
Robyn Hewetson
Mar 26, 2013 Robyn Hewetson rated it it was amazing
Delicious to learn. Wonderful to say. I use them to teach students and gift friends for their birthdays.
Nancy Eister
Jan 28, 2013 Nancy Eister rated it liked it
I incredible Hafiz verses, interspersed with lead balloon Ladinsky verse. No comparison. Should be titled " because I translate Persian, I am a mystic comparable to Hafiz - Not".
Amanda (Amy) Goode
May 19, 2012 Amanda (Amy) Goode rated it it was amazing
Inviting anyone and everyone to read this one along with us. Ecstatic poetry for challenging times.
Jim Tolles
Nov 16, 2016 Jim Tolles rated it really liked it
I wondered when I read Hafiz how much got lost in translation for some of the poems. Some of the other poems, however, were exquisite.
Joey Hines
Joey Hines rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2013
MDoran rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2015
Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2017
John Quintana
John Quintana rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2013
Andie rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2014
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Hāfez (حافظ) was a Persian poet whose collected works (The Divan) are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran, who learn his poems by heart and still use them as proverbs and sayings.

His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-14th century Persian writing more than any other
More about Hafez...

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