The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
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The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,521 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Now in paperback, this is the definitive collection of America′s bestselling poet Rumi′s finest poems of love and lovers. In Coleman Barks′ delightful and wise renderings, these poems will open your heart and soul to the lover inside and out.

′There are lovers content with longing.

I′m not one of them.′

Rumi is best known for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries o...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published January 18th 2003 by HarperOne
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I am not sure whom to give credit for this book to, Rumi or Coleman Barks. For the gift of translating it we certainly owe a debt to Barks but for the power and the truth contained we more deeply owe Rumi.

This is not a book of love poems for a sweetheart or a Valentine. This is a book to be given or read only in the cases of deepest and most positive realization that your life is bound up in another; romantic or otherwise. These poems are not about the kind of love which belongs on Hallmark car...more
Judy Croome
The problem with translations is that one never knows how much of what one is reading is the translator’s voice, and how much is the original artist’s voice.

Banks is credited with “popularising” Rumi’s works in America. That’s the essence of the difficulty I had with this translation. To “translate” a work, one “expresses the sense of (a word, book etc) in another language”, while to “popularise” a work is to “present a specialised subject in a popular or readily understandable form”.

In his no...more
Jonathanstray Stray
The man wrote 800 years ago in a radically different language and culture, and every word comes through.
Taymara Jagmohan
Now now, this book really did teach me a lot.
How can you not love when the love that you're seeking is just in your soul? How can you not understand that love mesmerizes us and dazzles us to such an extent that we have no other option but to add more to it?
Love is and love will be.
You cannot force nor can you augment, you can only allow your soul to evaporate within the teachings of it.
It may seem like no necessity, but it grovels to a stand-point.
It makes you feel found; but also lost.
It render...more
To be perfectly honest, I thought Rumi's Book of Love was a little overrated. Perhaps it was just my translation, but I thought a lot of the poems alluded to obscure cultural (and obviously religious) themes, which makes it extremely curious to me why he is so popularly quoted in modern America. Anyway, there were a few shreds of lightness that I did capture and like, which made up for the parables that were not absorbed... and of course, those are the most quotable. Somehow this bothers me; it...more
Apr 08, 2012 A. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Ramadan started, so I have to store it in the unfinished shelf

August 10, 2010

came back to finish it :)

what amazes me the most is Rumi's ability to love.

and I don't think one can find (in a lifetime) many people with such positive vision and endless energy.

and I kept wondering through out the book if Rumi ever met anyone he hated or if those he loved actually deserved all that love...did Rumi ever felt cheated on or experienced jealousy?

it's truly wonderful to contain all that love, but was Rumi...more
Ruhat alp
Rumi says: "Sometimes angels envy our cleanliness and sometimes the devils run away from our evil." He also says in the Mesnevi: "Since there are many devils who have the face of Adam, it is not well to give your hand to every hand. "

Considering man's habits and attributes, Rumi says in one of his poems: "They have made this physical form and appearance of man by bringing together many opposite attributes. They have drawn this form in the workshop of sorrows. They have kneaded his day with sadne...more
The one star goes to the translator. His translation is really bad. It is actually not a translation but a silly adaptation of Rumi's poems. In between the poems you have to survive the "philosophical" comments of the wise translator.
Huda AbuKhoti
I wanted to read this book after many references made by Khaled Hosseini to Rumi and Forough Farrokhzad.

As a Muslim this is entirely new to me.
New to me in the aspect that I felt like I was reading a book that is more related to Zen more so than Islam; that is why I carried on reading the poetry from that aspect.

It wasn't a religious book for me but more of spiritual and fictitious, that was the only way that let me enjoy it and finish it.

Having said that I loved a lot of the poetry, didn't ge...more
Tom Emanuel
Rather than attempt to review the wonder that is Coleman Barks's sterling re-interpretations of Rumi's staggeringly beautiful mystic poetry, I'm going to simply extract four lines that have been blowing my mind pretty consistently in recent days:

"Why did you stop praising?"
"Because I've never heard anything back."
"This longing you express
is the return message." (from "Love Dogs," p. 146)

...and there it is. My mind is blown. As it was by almost every freaking poem in this collection. Let the prai...more
I didn't read it end to end, but then again, it's not a novel. That said, some poems in this collection are absolutely exquisite. Among my favourites,

"Excuse my wandering.
How can one be orderly with this?
It's like counting leaves in a garden

along with the song notes of partridges
and crows. Sometimes organisation
and computation become absurd."

And this one is beautiful too,

"If you love love,
look for yourself."

Keep a copy in your shelf to pick a page randomly once in a while and please yourself.
I flew through this book. For some reason, I am just now learning about Coleman Barks and his interpretations of existing Rumi translations. Very beautiful... And, the intros into each chapter speak of Barks' personality and spiritual journey. He is a real character, blooming from Southern soils (he lives in Georgia). A critique -- some poems appeared more than once...very haphazard, but possibly in the spirit of Rumi.
Lilia Zuhara
This book talks about love. But when you expect kind of love which solely involved feeling, this in not the proper book for you. Rumi talked about love in deeper sight. Love is not only about ecstasy and agony, it's also about the purity of love which also purify your soul. If you really dip yourself into this book, you'll be enlightened at the end. You just can't skim this read.
Love and connection with your inner self and the human spirit. These poems are humbling and grand in their simplicity and creative imagery. Rumi has wisdom that would benefit many a person. I'm especially find of the poem 'Moses and the Shepherd'.
if you like poems, i'm sure this is one the best books out there. i adore rumi so much : )
Sara Jane Blackman
The ecstasy and longing, though not what the title implies, take me elsewhere... "Like this."
Good for those who still wants to believe that there is indeed enough love in this world. Is there?
Saquib  Mehmood

I cried all night. Such miracle with words: "Last year, I admired the wines. This, I’m wandering inside the red world.
Last year, I gazed at the fire, This year I’m burnt kabob."
The Book of Love  Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

And then I cried in the morning: " As everything changes overnight, I praise the breaking of promises. Whatever love wants, it gets, not next year, now!
I swear by the one who never says tomorrow, as the circle of the moon refuses to sell installments of light. It gives all it has.
How do fables conclude, and who will expl...more
Robert Sheppard

Goethe honored Persian Literature as one of the four great literary traditions of World Literature, or "Weltliteratur" as he named it. I...more
I actually found this on the Internet in unencrypted PDF format, but after downloading and starting to read it, I realized it was a pirated copy. In an effort not to further that negative karma in my own life, I've forgotten the URL and also have no desire to pass my pirated copy on to anyone else. That said, I found the illegal copy while searching for one of my favorite lines from Rumi's poetry which I found at, where some of Rumi's poetry is printed on top of some beautiful a...more
Sep 02, 2008 jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
"All I know of spirit
is this love."

I don't often get into volumes of poetry, but I feel like Lynda Barry made me. I came to this book looking for poetic imagery, and I found it, but I left it feeling so much more overwhelmed and opened to all the happenings of the universe. Reading the love poems out-loud to my sweet wife, and we passed the poems back and forth. "What sort of person says that he or she wants / to be polished and pure, then complains / about being handled roughly?"

"Dance, when y...more
Sarah Embaby
My Dear God! I was travelling with the speed of light into a parallel universe. I was transmitted to discover the undiscovered to unravel the mysteries of the deepest secrets.

The Scope of his literature dimension is completely phenomenal. Even if it's a translated version; the metaphors is perfectly effective.

The Scope of the Emotional,Spiritual dimension is indulging, luring to the mind. The Pure Simple words had reached out to the depth of the meaning complicity.

"Begin" (24)
"The Music We Are" (26)
"Quietness" (33)
"Birdwings" (47)
One star, not for the poems but for the translations.
Ru-mi's poetry is a record of his enduring the experience of living at the core. In each human being there is a meeting with the divine. That intersection is the heart.

Are you jealous of the ocean's generosity?
Why would you refuse to give this love to anyone?
Fish don't hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim the huge fluid freedom.

Poems are rough notations for the music we are.

When love itself comes to kiss you, don't hold back!

Jul 29, 2011 Simar added it
Nothing I saw will do justice to Rumi's poems. Just play some Turkish music, grab your choice of liquor and read personal favourite:

"We have huge barrels of wine, but no cups.
That's fine with us.
In the morning we glow and in the evening we glow again.
They say we have no future. They're right.
Which is fine with us."
jeremy bradner
i'm sure these are fairly loosely translated as barks doesn't speak persian...but the gist of the poem is there. i read a couple of these a day for a long time. very spiritual, good advice kinda poems. my favorite is the one about the chickpea. there's also an audio cd where barks reads rumi poems to sufi music. kinda corny but i like it.
Rumi was a Persian poet. This is a translation by Coleman Banks.The theme of this is love in its many forms and feelings from a very free-sprited view. Sudden love, lost love, divine love, in all its forms of being & feeling. Some poems are just 2 lines. They do not necessarily rhyme; but are free verse.
I loved the depth of Rumi's writing. I enjoyed every single one of his poems. This translation from Barks makes the writing so easy to read and the division of each chapter is well placed. For a first time reader of Rumi I can definitely say this way a good and easy read. Very very fast to get through.
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Profile in Farsi: مولوی

Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (Persian: مولانا جلال الدین محمد رومی), also known as Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balḫī (Persian: محمد بلخى), but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi , was a 13th century Persian (Tādjīk) poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. Rumi is a descriptive name meaning "the Roman" since he lived most parts of his life in Anatolia wh...more
More about Rumi...
The Essential Rumi The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems مثنوی معنوی The Love Poems Of Rumi دیوان كلیات شمس تبریزی

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“Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it.” 89 likes
“She loved him so much she concealed his name in many phrases, the inner meanings known only to her.” 76 likes
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