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The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez
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The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  28 reviews
One of our most acclaimed poets brings the work of the great Persian mystic and poet, Hafez, to a new audience. There is no poet in our tradition who carries the amount of admiration and devotion that the Persians have for Hafez. Children learn to sing Hafez poems in the third grade, and almost every family has a copy of the collected Hafez on the dining room table. Robert ...more
Hardcover, 114 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Harper
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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It's all right if the beggar claims to be a king
Today. His tent is a shadow thrown by a cloud;
His banqueting hall is a newly sown field.

That is a stanza from a poem called "On the Way to the Garden."

Its author was Hafez (aka., Hafiz), a Sufi poet who lived in Persia (Iran) almost 700 years ago.

It is a stanza of such timeless wisdom and beauty that it moved me to tears.

I read it over and over.

The renowned poet Robert Bly and scholar of Islam Le
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads, poetry
This book is a pace-changer. It will move you to giddy places—airy distant lands of spirit-like creatures, humming tunes of nonchalance and meditation...

This is one of my on the spur-of-the-moment kind of reads. I gleaned through the thirty poems—moved at first by reading lines like

The heart already had it, but kept asking strangers for it.

The pearl that was never inside the shell of space and time—
We asked that from people lost at the ocean’s edge.

We do this often. We l/>The
Akemi G.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
This translation of Hafez at least cites the original work--kind of. I'm sure the numbers on the top right corner of each poem mean something. According to the essay by coauthor Leonard Lewisohn, he translated the poems from Persian, and worked with Robert Bly to create these English translations.

The presentation of the poems drives me crazy. Most poems are translated to multi stanza, each stanza containing 3 lines. It just didn't feel right, and I had to look up what ghazal poem form is. The wiki art
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, hafez
Hafez was born in either 715/1315 or 717/1317, and spent all his life in the city of Shiraz in southwestern Persia, rarely leaving its gates, and died there in 791/1389. The poetry of Hafez and the city of Shiraz are as inseparable from each other as are Dante and the city of Florence. Long before Hafez’s birth, Shiraz was known as the House of Knowledge, having nurtured scores of geniuses in the fields of science, mysticism, and belles lettres [...]
Despite all the many other poets of that
Svetlozara Kabaktchieva
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Да оценяваш със звезди персийска поезия, която идва през вековете от XIV век, е доста самонадеяно -
тя просто няма нужда от такава оценка, защото отдавна е получила най-голямата:

"How can the tongue hidden in your pen
Ever give thanks enough for the way people
Pass on your poems from hand to hand?"

След живата, мъдра и провокативна поезия на Хафез, човек получава и супер интересна студия - аз поне научих неща, за които, признавам, досега нищо не знаех.
Justin McMoore
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thirty of Hagez's gazels that Bly and Lewisi let simmer in translation for fourteen years; extensive research and discussion leading to their word choices.

I think thirty was used as a reference to the thirty birds who find the Simorgh in Attar's "Confrene of the Birds"..?
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
great poet. he seems kinda like the bukowski of persia. bit more upbeat than omar, omar seems to get melancholic. both brilliant of course.
Tod Jones
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Will read and reread this book.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was completely enchanted by this book. These poems from a thousand years ago have a fresh and vital quality that just amazes. This was something that I had no familiarity with at all so it was a total surprise. I am glad that I took the advice of a friend and read this.

The book appears to be small and an easy read. This did not happen. I found myself rereading many of the poems as soon as I got to the end because I was not sure what even happened. I know that this does not sound ev
Tam G
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, world-lit
Like most poets there are moments of brilliance, probably far fewer than Hafez sees in himself.

I think this is more interesting if you are a bit of an Epicurean recovering from a religious background. Neither applies to me. I did find the links between Hafez's grip on spirituality and his views on beauty interesting, even if his constant excuse for alcoholism and lethargy was his internal quest for beauty and satisfaction.

I think this subject matter probably resonates a lot for the
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"The name of Hafez has been well inscribed in the books,
But in our clan of disreputables, the difference
Between profit and loss is not all that great."

One can not overemphasize the importance of Hafez. This translation is amazing and powerful, and like the great mystic poets of past centuries it is open to everyone who studies the esoteric path. Similar to Ikkyu and Ryokan, celebrating the wild and untamed aspect of ourselves beyond Ego and convention, Hafez is an amazi
Mario Adame
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hafez's poetry is extremely interesting. I'm sure there is plenty of frustration and joy with translating his words. In this book, I believe poetry readers will find how his struggles become similar to those that are alive today in our world. Wine drinking, religious education, love, jokes, nature, and pleasure are evident in his works. I am thankful to all those translators whom publish Hafez's truly genius art.
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
It is like a journey to the mystics of east.In some moments it reminds me of Omer Khayyam,I felt like I read his verses.In some verses Hafez draws a picture in front of us that gets us thinking over do not notice that while you walk in lines of his descriptions.I want to quote few parts

to spend even one moment grieving about this world
is a waste of time.let's go and sell our robes
for ordinary wine.who says our robes are better than wine?
Michael Graber
Hafez comes to life as a wry, wise, wild man under Bly's translation. Those used to Landisky's translations will find a wholly different but equally stunning poet lurking here with angels, ramblers, saints and sinners, and other creatures. Hafez may have been one of the the world's most profound lovers of this and the other world - so much so, the two worlds dance, whipping up revelation and revelation as only real poetry can do. Highly recommended.
May 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a find! A little riskier than Rumi, this sufi poet fills his senses with this fleeting world--tastes the wine, tastes the girl.

"The holy court of love is a thousand times higher
Than the house of reason. Only a man who holds his soul
Lightly on his sleeve can kiss the threshold of that court."

It's interesting to think of this book in relation to "Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems," another book that Bly translated. Hafez could be viewed as a sort of masculine counterpart to Mirabai's feminine musings, a yang to her yin. Personally I prefer Mirabai's less rigidly formal and more intimate-feeling creations.
Ms. S...........
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
...I don't know why Hafez reminds me of Macklemore...

"We are content...with a phantom of you.
Oh God, how pitifully poor our aspirations are,
And how estranged and distant, how far we are from union!" (p16)

Father Greg, of the movie G-Dog, quotes the above...I'm glad I came across these words in such a round-about way.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Rumi's writing, but this is almost superior to those works. The newest translations of Hafez make it so incredibly easy for people to enjoy his works. If you haven't read his poetry, try this one first, then find his other works.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Lovely descriptive poetry.
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
love hafez- i thought it was hafiz? anyway. bliss and brillance in his incredibly spacious spiritual understanding- hafez is no one, everyone, god...
his thinking is intoxicating...
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I do not have words
Don Wentworth
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Walks a fine line between traditional and modern interpretations, unlike some of Bly's work. Kudos to him and co-translator Lewisohn.
Allie Mullin
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
lovely translation. i adore hafez.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This wasn't my favorite Hafiz collection. Lot's of drinking related poems, but none of the really good ones.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiration
Hafez...what can I say. Excellent poems let out of their cages and knocking on the heart's door.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bookmarked at page 102.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I wanna get drunk with Hafez!
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Picked up this book after a recommendation from a colleague. I don't usually appreciate poetry, but this book made the pieces very accessible, perfect to read slowly and contemplate.
rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2017
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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