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The Gift

4.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,988 Ratings  ·  254 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 did not like it  ·  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
Jun 13, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
E. Hope
Dec 15, 2007 E. Hope rated it really liked it  ·  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
May 27, 2010 Rick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alert! Should be marketed as: BY Daniel Ladinsky ...INSPIRED BY Hafiz
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
Natacha Pavlov
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
I’m just not the mystical type, I guess. Some of the poems are lovely, but they don’t move me. It was interesting to read this at the same time as Jahiz, a very rational writer. In one poem Hafiz writes:

I am saved
from all reason
And surrender understanding

and in another

The appearance of this world
Is a Magi’s brilliant trick

whereas Jafiz says, on being asked how a believer knows to believe the signs of the Prophet:

The onlooker is convinced by evidence only if he already has experience of the worl
Mar 19, 2011 Stefanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 17, 2008 Shandana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2014 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
Sep 17, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gift is a collection of Hafiz poems translated to English by Daniel Ladinsky. In the preface, Daniel describes the hours he has spent studying Hafiz's work, and how, above all else, he attempts to capture the essence of each poem. (Most know that translation of feeling/words is not always perfect.)

Everyone seems a bit upset about this. As for me, I just wanted to read some beautiful poetry.

I've always connected with Hafiz and Rumi's thoughts on love, nature, happiness and connection; the mo
May 13, 2015 Sincerae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sufi-poetry
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
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
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 Tony duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Sep 26, 2013 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Nicole Taylor
Jul 08, 2015 Nicole Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book a year and a half ago, to bring some sweetness into my mornings after experiencing a great loss. I would read at least one poem out loud to myself as a way to feel like I had stepped into the field of love and was wrapped in the sacred. This almost daily practice served me well, so finishing the book is bittersweet. I noticed whatever poem I read that morning would follow me into the day, inviting me to notice and appreciate beauty in different forms. Some scholars sa ...more
Taymara Stephania  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
Aug 25, 2012 Shala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 31, 2012 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sufism, poetry
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.
Aug 16, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
surprisingly brisk, funny, amazing poems you wouldn't believe were written so long ago. they are love poems to God and they are passionate!
Christopher Abreu Rosario
Nov 02, 2014 Christopher Abreu Rosario rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christopher by: Amanda Stokes
I have fallen in love with a man who has been dead for 625 years. Hafiz, where have you been all my life? Or perhaps I am more in love with Daniel Ladinsky who has, loosely, translated the poems of Hafez [a.k.a], known as the Great Sufi Master.

In The Gift, we are privileged to a collection of poems that speak on Hafiz’s love for God and the knowledge that that love has given him. I have never read such poetry that moved me so, and gave me an understanding I did not have before. I like poetry to
Oct 14, 2013 Melika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jerry Akin
Mar 13, 2015 Jerry Akin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read the reviews that these poems are actually written by the translator, Daniel Ladinsky, and that they are only inspired by Hafiz. I don't speak or read Persian, and I am new to the world of Hafiz, so I can neither contradict or support those claims. However, I am not reviewing the author or supposed author, I am reviewing the book. This collection of poems is beautiful, humorous, and inspiring. They invite us to meet God in a place where we can commune freely, growing in our love and und ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Gregg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
A business friend likes to say "Rumi at night, Hafiz in the morning." And while I read both at night--I'm not one for reading in the AM unless I'm at a restaurant and plowing through someone for something I'm writing--there's no question that you're touching gold when you read Hafiz.

Two Bears is among my favorites. And while Ladinski's effort doesn't rival Barks' readings / translations of Rumi, they come close in their ability to wake you up and drive you out into the street as a more alive and
Dec 05, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Cate
Jul 09, 2013 David Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deep-water
Reading Hafiz is like two fat men sitting in a boat in the middle of the ocean – laughing. Inside The Gift are lavish overtures about God and the spirit of life sprinkled with humorous pixie dust to delight any meditation or conversation.

Hafiz is another timeless poet from Persia's most fertile gardens. His work are profound and sublime jewels for most any occasion and is always a welcome antidote for the most melancholy days.

Rumi will speak of love. Lao Tsu will speak of the way, but Hafiz soar
Nov 14, 2014 Marta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, spare and upbeat use of language to create images of God, inspire and
educate. It is almost unbelievable to me that he lived in the 1300's. No wonder people in the middle-east love and value him. Hafez was a Muslim mystic. His poems are almost lit from within themselves with faith and beauty. I don't know enough to know if this is an unusual translation, but his style reminds me of poetry from the 60's and 70's- simple and out to make a point. Yet, unlike that era, his intent is not to
Nicole Kalbermatten
all time favorite forever poet
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 :)

Apr 12, 2015 Rhoda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost never try translations of poetry, even between Romance languages, given the difficulty of the task. But when I found this book in my local bookshop and saw the positive reviews, I tried it.

There are some rather beautiful metaphors within the poems. However, their free verse structure led me to wonder just how 'free' these translations are as compared to the originals. That question led to some academic discussions by individuals who are familiar with both English and Persian verse (see
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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 t
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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…