The Gift
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The Gift

4.55 of 5 stars 4.55  ·  rating details  ·  3,855 ratings  ·  211 reviews
More than any other Persian poet--even Rumi--Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the "Invisible Tongue." Indeed, Daniel Ladinsky, the accomplished translator of this volume, has said that his work with Hafiz is an attempt to do the impossible: to tr...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrew Sydlik
Jun 10, 2010 Andrew Sydlik rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Lucille Siebert
Spiritual and Poetic Chicanery
The most important point is that this book is NOT a book of translations of Hafez. Instead, it is a book of original poetry by Daniel Ladinsky, "inspired by" Hafez. Other reviewers have pointed this out, but obviously, this book's high rating and continued commercial success show that this is not well enough known. I purchased this for a poetry book discussion group, and now I feel ripped off. No one else there knew of this when I told them at the meeting (I only f...more
Hafiz, whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad, is the most beloved poet of Persia. He spent nearly all his life in Shiraz, where he became a famous Sufi master. When he died he was thought to have written an estimated 5,000 poems, of which 500 to 700 have survived. ( Daniel)

It Felt Love

Did the rose
Ever open it’s heart

And give this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain



....when you open your heart you share your beauty wi...more
E. Hope
Dec 15, 2007 E. Hope rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Willing Spirits
This compilation of wisdom speaks for itself, however, I would like to share one of the poems that particularly moved me, an invitation, if you will, to "The Gift" of Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master.

"With That Moon Language"

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
"Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud:
Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always say...more
How can it be that Ladinsky's translation captures such a feel of contemporaneity? Or perhaps I should say that we Americans are more familiar with Wahhabi Islam so that we don't realize the mystical, playful, spiritual side of Islam may derive from Sufism, or Sufi Islam which this gorgeous book of poems by the Sufi Master Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) captures.

It is difficult to even reproduce my favorite poems here because of their unusual form, sometimes just one word in a line. The poems have a shape...more
For the longest time Rumi was my favoritest Sufi poet. He's funny, daring at times, and never failed to make me feel peaceful when reading his wise words. Well now Hafiz has gone and tied with Rumi for the gold. Hafiz is funny, daring, and makes me feel happy when I read him. What's a girl to do? I must embrace them both.

Hafiz was born about 100 years after Rumi in about 1320. To put him in a little perspective, he was a contemporary of Chaucer. There is no consensus on how many of Hafiz's poems...more
Natacha P
This collection of 136 poems by Persian Sufi master poet Hafiz (c. 1320 – 1389) will delight readers of any faith looking for humor and to explore his view of the world –or more accurately- of his God.

The poems’ most recurring themes include love, tolerance, fanaticism, forgiveness and God. Most of the poems speak of love and rather ‘unorthodox’ metaphors for God abound throughout his verses. The reader, whether spiritual or not, may be delighted by his habit of speaking of, or to, God in a rat...more
the great sufi poet rumi gets all the accolades but let's not forget the beautiful, mystical work by the equally great sufi poet hafiz. one can learn a lot by reading this collection of 250 poems, one of which reads:

even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth:
"you owe me."

look what happens
with a love like that
it lights up the whole sky
Alert! Should be marketed as: BY Daniel Ladinsky ...INSPIRED BY Hafiz
Because of this book now I'm conflicted about which Sufi poet I love the best, Rumi or Hafiz.

In 2012 I went to Konya, Turkey and saw where Rumi was laid to rest centuries ago. I have yet to go to Shiraz, Iran the city of poets and roses where Hafiz spent most of his life and where he is buried. A few years ago world traveler Rick Steves went to Iran and of the many places he visited one was the tomb of Hafiz, where devotees of his poetry still visit and read his poems beside his tomb. I was tol...more
Taymara Jagmohan
The Gift isn't one of the best books I have read, but it boils some spiritual words, and meanings.
My favorite "The Earth wouldn't be alive if the Sun stopped kissing it."
"Life, life, life is too sacred to end."

Hafiz has been been a role model in the eyes of many; but Im sure he serves as a replica of all the better spiritual beings such as Rumi, Kabir, Shams, Saadi, Francis of Assisi and Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Prophet, Sand and Foam and other works by KHALIL Gibran were so more imaginative and be...more
I love the message and you feel very light and inspired but I am concerned about the translations. There are serval instances that I have actually rolled my eyes and thought, "that can't be right."

That is the problem with an author that had not been around in 400 years and his work was originally written in Arabic, not English.

I take it with a grain of salt, just like I do all ancient texts that have been translated. Take what you like and leave the rest.
The most beautiful gift. The most stunning poetry I have ever read. The voice of a friend, carried across oceans, through centuries. The book I gift to friends in times of challenge, and happiness, simply as a gift, the best gift I can think of. Probably the most life-changing book I've ever read, and I am trying not to exaggerate ;-) Highly recommended.
surprisingly brisk, funny, amazing poems you wouldn't believe were written so long ago. they are love poems to God and they are passionate!
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 Tony duncan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone that wants to be human
Recommended to Tony by: Jaki
This book changed my life. I started writing poetry after being introduced to Rumi, and then jaki got 3 of Ladinsky's translations and I was transported into another World. THIS is where I belong. I am unable to find this place except through Hafiz, and I am pretty weary of ever being able to communicate clearly to anyone in real life about how clear his messages are in this book. But at least I have him, dancing in my mind, smiling sadly at me and then going off to play with God. I have wirtten...more
I've always assumed myself to be a lover of Hafiz, while having really known only a few of his major poems. Reading The Gift was different than what I expected it to be. To someone who has only a knowledge of basic conversational farsi, hearing Hafiz in the original language has always made me assume his poems are of some grand romantic style. Translated into english, many of them become heart-warming, whimsical little moments that I find myself wanting to share with my friends. A good number of...more
As others have pointed out, this book is not Hafiz. It's Ladinsky. Reading it, you'll figure it out pretty quickly. The language is just not in keeping with Hafiz. Nice thoughts in many of the poems, though. Just, not Hafiz. If you want the real Hafiz, I would suggest "Hafiz of Shiraz", which is translated by Avery and Heath-Stubbs. 30 poems of the real thing.
Reading Hafiz was like meeting the reincarnation of an old friend in the middle of a midnight desert encampment, sharing his wine and warmth. Even the most reductionistic cynic may be stirred by the way his words seem to evoke something cosmic, sentient, playful, and loving beyond the veil of what they couldn't possibly know. He's a joker and a rogue spiritual genius, and his reputation as a ecstasic muse for generations of Persians,ancient and modern,is no accident. When I read Hafiz I feel lik...more
Zachary Karabashliev
A great gift to humanity, indeed.
Beauty/philosophy/spirituality - all in one - a gentle proof that God must love poetry:)

Note: I still can't tell how much is the Great Sufi Master Hafiz and how much is his Translator Daniel Landinsky. At times it feels like a collaboration done centuries apart.
Strange, yet powerful.
Love wins anyway :)

G. Marie
I am always currently reading this book. Have been for years. Though I am actually reading it from page 1 onward (which I don't normally do with poetry), I haven't reached the end -- because I always go back and read my favorites instead of finding new favorites in the remaining pages.
I really liked these poems...a few of them, especially "To Build a Swing" have some really nice aphorisms in them. I had heard a few of Hafiz/Hafez's poems quoted at a sangha that I attend and wanted to read more. But as I was reading the poems in this book I kept thinking "there is no way these are from the 1300s..." I stopped reading, googled and found out that Daniel Ladinsky is the author of these poems. He didn't translate these poems, he claims Hafiz came to him in a dream and told him the...more
I like to mix up the genres I read from time to time and so for the past two months I have been working my way through this classic book of Persian (Iranian) poetry by Hafiz. It has been a delightful read because even though if you read the biography of Hafiz you know he suffered some deep losses and experienced the precarious fortunes and misfortunes of having a poetic career - the poems in this book are primarily about love. Hafiz who lived in the fourteenth century in Shiraz, Persia is the mo...more
"You are
A royal fish
Trying to wear pants
In a country as foreign
As land" Hafiz

After all my Western poetry, Hafiz is a breath of fresh air. Check him out. His metaphors are extraordinary.
Reza Bavar
I Love Hafez, but Ladinsky's translation is not that good. I feel like he's more interested in expressing himself than the essence of the poems.
This book was a gift from a friend. A perfect example of serendipity - I would never have picked this on my own, but I'm so glad I read it. Hafiz was a 14th century Persian poet and Sufi Master. I get the impression he'd be fun to hang out with. I mean, he writes about love, sex, sports, animals, nature, and "buttering the sky" -- all in an attempt to describe his spiritual journey to God's heart. Emerson called him a "poet for poets" while others described him as a spiritual rebel, mystically p...more
Stop Being So Religious

What/Do sad people have in/common?

It seems/They have all built a shrine/To the past

And often go there/And do a strange wail and/Worship.

What is the beginning of/Happiness?

It is to stop being/So religious


I can't presume to know how much of these poems is Hafez, and how much is Daniel Ladinsky. Translating anything from a middle eastern language into a European one is a notoriously tricky affair. If nothing else, Ladinsky at least takes a "loose" interpretation of H...more
Apr 02, 2011 Elizabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Hafiz 14th century

from the library computer

Table of Contents
Preface 1 (6)
Introduction: The Life and Work of Hafiz 7 (14)
21 (11)
Startled by God
21 (1)
Let's Eat
22 (1)
When the Violin
23 (1)
Looking for Good Fish
24 (2)
A Hunting Party
26 (1)
This Sane Idea
27 (1)
We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners
28 (1)
I Can See Angels
29 (1)
You're It
30 (1)
I Rain
31 (1)
32 (11)
I Have Learned So Much
32 (1)
God Just Came Near
33 (...more
Gregory Boyce
My first book of Hafiz and I love it. Whenever I get feeling down for whatever reason, I can count on Hafiz to invite me into a higher space. My mother was a born-again fundamentalist Christian for forty years and we waged a quiet battle of beliefs until a year before her passing, when she softened and opened to other possibilities. I was visiting her in the nursing home one day and brought The Gift with me. I figured that her quest for spirit was still strong even if her dogma had relaxed. I re...more
Rein Eire
My review for The Gift was harder to write than I thought it would be. Not for lack of love for this book or its clever turns of phrase. I can quite honestly count this book among those that significantly impacted my perspective and encouraged me to develop a more passionate, contemplative, and meaningful relationship with my life. I've shared copy upon copy with my loved ones (as a copy was originally shared with me by a loved one). I've spent hours conversing with my friends about the ideas co...more
I first learned of Hafez through Azar Nafisi, an Iranian-American professor at John Hopkins who I highly respect. The humanities are elevated in Iran and many Persians know the works of Hafez by heart. So, in my quest to better understand Iranians and their culture, I started here.

To my knowledge, I had never read Sufi poetry until this book and I have to say, it surprised me. There were quite a few moments when I either laughed out loud or had to pause for a period of time because the text was...more
Beth Chandler
Apr 04, 2012 Beth Chandler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: Joanna M.
Brilliantly luminous, sensual poetry. Most of the poems are only a few stanzas long, which is perfect as they are rich as flourless chocolate cake with both sensory imagery and food for meditation. Hafez' Allah is recognizable as the Deity of those of many faiths--reminding me not only of the Christian deity of my faith but of my Pagan friends' Goddess.

The translation uses colloquial and contemporary language, which I find adds to the immediacy, intimacy and power of the poetry (much as the tran...more
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See also

Khwāja Šams ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī, or simply Hāfez (Persian: خواجه شمس‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی), was a Persian mystic and poet. He was born sometime between the years 1310 and 1337. John Payne, who has translated the Diwan Hafez, regards Hafez as one of the three greatest poets of the world. His lyrical poems, known as ghazals, are noted for their beauty and bring to fruition...more
More about حافظ...
ديوان حافظ The Divan The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz حافظ به سعی سایه ديوان حافظ شیرازی

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Earth would die
If the sun stopped kissing her.”
“The heart is a
The thousand-stringed instrument

That can only be tuned with
More quotes…