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The Essential Rumi by Rumi
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's review
Sep 07, 08

bookshelves: lovely-poetry
Read in September, 2008

I'm not sure what quirk of personality has led me to find the most exquisite expressions of how I feel about people, life, the universe, and the meaning of everything in the poetry of ancient Sufi mystics, but time and again, I find myself turning to either Daniel Ladinsky's translations of Hafiz, or Coleman Barks' translations of Rumi for inspiration. The back cover of this book has a good quip on Barks' skill: "His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi's poetry is remarkable." Rumi's irreverent, sometimes beautifully meandering, often funny, always graceful love poems to his god (indeed, to the universe) are not to be missed. This collection took me nearly a year to get through, because so many little pieces of it jump out to be savored before moving on to the next poem, stanza, or even line, but I know I'll be returning to it again and again. In the words of Jelaluddin Chelabi, the living descendant of Rumi's lineage, "Love is the religion, and the universe is the book."

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