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A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  630 ratings  ·  54 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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Faraz Forghanparast Still searching for a full compendium, but Hafiz: The Prince of Persian Lyric Poets has been a good read, IMHO.

My breast is filled with roses,
My cup i…more
Still searching for a full compendium, but Hafiz: The Prince of Persian Lyric Poets has been a good read, IMHO.

My breast is filled with roses,
My cup is crowned with wine,
And by my side reposes
The maid I hail as mine.
The monarch, whereso'er he be.
Is but a slave compared to me !
گل در بر و می در کف و معشوق به کام است
سلطان جهانم به چنین روز غلام است

Quite recognizable, written with poetic form in mind, and by Jove - a translation! Not some marketing sham like Ladinsky's stuff.

It would be very remiss of me not to mention the veritable 1947 "Fifty Poems of Hafiz" by A.J. Arberry.

Edit: Also the translation by Henry Wilberforce Clarke seems to be quite complete and solid. (less)

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 ·  630 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Jun 12, 2012 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.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2019-reads

The way a river's strength may move one in its
current, so does my gaze or wish.

What the rain can do for a well, so can the
language from an illumined heart.

When I woke up I found existence rented its
space from me.

The poems in this collection are nuanced, seemingly simple. There is something made mystical about life, about love. In these lines there is a deep reverence for natural beauty, for the subconscious mind. The language is expressed in a way that makes th
Miroku Nemeth
Dec 20, 2011 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
Hoda Marmar
Can't read no further. This is not Hafiz. This is a modern slang adaptation of what should be much more meaningful, much deeper, and actually Sufi.
This book sucks :(
Dec 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
What an absolute joke.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
These poems are not translated works, they are clearly written or re-written by Ladinsky. The poems "What the Prom Queen Gets" and "Watch Out for Spiritual La-la Land" solidified the fact that these are not poems written by a great Sufi mystic. This white dude decided to imitate and pass off his own poetry, as if they were translations and actually written by Hafiz. I just wanted to read some good poetry from one of the greatest Persian poets and bask in the beauty of the language and spiritual ...more
David Crumm
Feb 03, 2012 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
India M. Clamp
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wondrous writing---as if penned by Neruda.
Jemma TheTravelingBookLover
The author did not keep the translations as accurate as the real poems, instead trying to make them more hip and modern so that it lost the meaning entirely
Lauren Davis
I suspect the translator might be a decent poet in his own right, but the liberties he's taken with Hafiz, in an attempt to make him modern, are awful. Shudder. ...more
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
Nancy McKinley
Dec 20, 2014 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.
Dec 26, 2014 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
Reem R.
Unfortunately I can't seem to keep reading this for the rest of the year, compared to last year's Rilke's daily poems, this is hideous. Don't know if it's the translation or the modernized version of Hafez, I just can't. ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Too supermarket. I understand it is an interpretation of Hafiz 's poetry, but really, he killed it.
Jan 12, 2015 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?
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: west-asia, poetry
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. ...more
Ilyah Nazrah
Dec 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not my cup of tea. Might try reading this again after a few years.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I usually don’t engage in writing interviews, so for know I will adhere. However, Omid Safi addresses the problem with this book and others of this ilk.

“We live in an age where the president of the United States ran on an Islamophobic campaign of “Islam hates us” and establishing a cruel Muslim ban immediately upon taking office. As Edward Said and other theorists have reminded us, the world of culture is inseparable from the world of politics. So there is something sinister about keeping Muslim
Christy Baker
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 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
Raaz e kunfayakun
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blown away. Hafiz has still the power to communicate with your soul!! :))

I have been told by a Persian lady who speaks Dari. She says that even now there are ppl when they need guidance they do a فال, meaning out of many poems.. they read Bismillah and Darud Shareef and out of many poems they randomly pick a poem and astonishingly it gives them a clear answer.

It may sound strange but it really happens. A very dear Baba whose Barakah is still flowing. Islam, spirituality and peace has not come
Wes F
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was about time to read some Hafiz (or Hafez) and so picked this book up--or got it for a present in 2019--and gave it a shot. Hmm...I have to say I'm disappointed overall. Not sure if some of that is due to the Ladinsky modern translation or if it's just Hafez and his somewhat "out there" poems, rants, and speculations/dreams (wine-inspired?). The material was just mostly not very engaging or that interesting. Lots of self-reflexive reflections of a bit "crazy" sort. Maybe I need to ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got this for my birthday from my dad, and immediately opened to the poem for September 15 (my bday). It's called "Kick Back & Say Ahhhh."

It begins:

"The mind just wants to stop giving a shit/about so many things./ It wants to kick back and say Ahhhhh more."

Some of the poems here are less obviously decipherable, but all feel like they lead us to the meaning of God/the world. Thanks Hafiz, for being a genius.
George Marino
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hafiz the well- beloved Sufi poet and mystic walks with you daily in this classic contemplation journey of wonder and awe. I was inspired and moved reading the poems leading to my own creative impulse to help make a difference in the world. Over a morning coffee , this is where the real fun starts. Highly recommend!
Ex Libris Haley
Dec 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed the themes and ideas behind many of the poems, the modernized translations were unexpected and strange to me. I would’ve preferred reading a more accurate, original translation even if that meant there was a need for more footnotes to explain outdated concepts and words. Some were better than others.
Faraz Forghanparast
Nov 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
An absolute, disrespectful disgrace. A mishmash of completely irrelevant strings of cheap 'poetry', which has only used the name of Hafez for marketing purposes. There is nothing of Hafez, of mysticism, or even the deep love in the form.

Batting 900?! Please.
Lori Koppelman
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love Hafiz. Love this format of one a day. Love this translator. Love.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is a deep ally and soul companion kind of book. it is especially uncanny to me how often the reading resonates with those with that birthday.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Found this a bit frivolous and light, lacking the beauty of "The Gift" translated by the same author ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-best-boooks
beautiful book filled with poems rearranged so each one describes the time we live in.
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Hāfez (حافظ) (Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī) 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-1

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