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The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  3,994 ratings  ·  133 reviews
Inside A Lover's Heart There's Another World, And Yet Another Rumi's masterpieces have inspired countless people throughout the centuries, and Coleman Barks's exquisite renderings of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic are widely considered the definitive versions for our time. Barks's translations capture the inward exploration and intensity that characterize Rumi's poe ...more
Paperback, 425 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by HarperOne (first published 2001)
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Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m an elderly survivor of too many recurrent close calls...

And a wobbly-kneed ambler through dense and decayed Denis-Johnsonian urban streetscapes...

And an old neighbourhood fixture limping over to friends’ houses on daily caretaker errands at vacation times!

I know whereof Coleman Barks and his mentor Rumi speak.

I could not do without my Inner Guide.

And no, it’s not Shams, but that doesn’t matter. We believers call Him the Spirit - but to each his or her own.

He’s often what gets us through t
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book you can ever say you "Read" as if you actually finished it and then put it on the shelf. This book is a bible, a companion, a map to the soul, to life and all the Universe. You will carry it with you around the house, keep it on your desk, in your bathroom, in your backpack - wherever it is you may need quick access to enlightened poetry and guidance. If you are up, this book will provide confirmation. If you are down, this book will give you answers and reasons to keep search ...more
Nicole Taylor
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I like to read this book early in the morning. It's like eating love for breakfast.
A corny thing to say. And utterly true.
Apr 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
he's so damn popular in the world of poetry it is sort of cliche to like the darn guy, but what the heck, I do.

Children Running Through

I used to be shy.
You made me sing.

I used to refuse things at table.
Now I shout for more wine.

In somber dignity, I used to sit
on my mat and pray.

Now children run through
and make faces at me.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"We tremble, thinking we’re about to dissolve
into nonexistence, but nonexistence
fears even more that it might be given human form!
Loving God is the only pleasure. Other delights turn bitter. What hurts the soul?
To live without tasting the water of its own essence. People focus on death and this material earth.
They have doubts about soul water.
Those doubts can be reduced! Use night
to wake your clarity. Darkness and the living water are lovers. Let them stay up together.
When me
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another of my favorite Persian poets. Sadly this book did not come with the poem in original Persian and there is perhaps a little too much of the translators own story. All I wanted was the poems of Rumi but those that I got were exceptional. Rumi's poems speak to the very soul and in many cases advice can be found in his words.
Tony duncan
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: interested in sufism , spiritual poetry
Shelves: literature
Rumi got me started writing poetry. Someone gave me a book of his. Just gave it to me because they thought I could use it. Boy were they right. I was so taken by the clear simple attention to an idea of God that I could relate to if not necessarily wholeheartedly embrace.
And his impetus, allowed this dam of repressed fear and anxiety and frustration to come out in a torrent of poems over the next couple of years.

Then jaki got me three books of Hafiz, the modern Translations by Landinsky. And t
Kimberly Willson - St. Clair
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I like to read a few poems at a sitting. The blending of religions is fascinating; i.e. Jesus, Moses, Mohammed. I am not sure of how Rumi's Sufi roots fit into my world view though. It feels rather foreign and reads esoteric rather than poetic.

The other great Sufi writer, Doris Lessing, makes more sense to my world view in regards to how she breaks the atom so to speak in The Golden Notebook. This book changed my life the first time around in graduate school at American because the main characte
Robert Sheppard


The "Islamic Golden Age" was an historical period begin
Patrick Gibson
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
13th Century Persian poet.

Austere, profound, beautiful, essential.

"We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee;
we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee.

We are as pieces of chess engaged in victory and defeat:
our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!

Who are we, O Thou soul of our souls,
that we should remain in being beside thee?

We and our existences are really non-existence;
thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable.
May 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Use as a tool for poetic entertainment or spiritual enlightenment. Coleman Bark's candidly admits to his poetic/ecstatic interpretation of Rumi's work rather than a straightforward scholarly approach...this works for me. Love/d it.
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: Vanessa Briscoe Hay
Shelves: poetry, sufism
This book has a special significance for me, because Barks dedicated it to my friend John Ryan Seawright, one of the shining lights of modern Southern letters until his untimely death. These poems like all of Rumi's poetry, call out to the reader on a multiplicity of levels. One small example:

Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and froze
Sam toer
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I felt transformed to a magical mystical place.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I had heard about this book on NPR, so checked it out of the library. I skipped around and read several good poems, but have to admit I am just not that much of a poetry reader. So I never finished the book.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up in a store while looking for Masnavi Ye Manavi, Rumi's word is so warm.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual-books
I LOVED this book! The poems of Rumi sing to my soul and fill my heart. Coleman Barks did a marvelous job on this book. Highly recommended!!
Jul 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
I just soo interested and this looks great!!!Please tell me it’s great
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the very calming and most beautiful poetry I have read so far. As simple as it is, it has a special magic that interprets the human soul and mind with a mixture of quality wisdom and sence of amazing atmosphere. I've really enjoyed the poems there and some I've read more than once. These collection of poems from Rumi are very touching and filled with worth-living experiences. Brings the past into our futures and guide some pathways of our lives.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The ecstatic poems of Rumi have long been a source of joy for me ever since my colleague Suzanne at the bookstore that I managed introduced me to him. This was so many years ago. We even had an event where everyone brought and read their favorite Rumi poem. My spouse has just started reading him and it brought his collection back to my consciousness. This is a great book to begin if you haven't read Rumi before.
Rumi writes poems in a simple style: imagery-filled couplets. However, that does not always make his poetry easy to understand. There is depth here. People of all faiths (or no faith) can find beauty in these words. A few of my favorites:

A road might end at a single house,
but it's not love's road

Love is a river.
Drink from it.


This is your connection to God
You must set fire to have

light. Trust means you're ready to risk what you currently
have. Think of your fear and

hope about your live
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
A good friend of mine says that just like your body requires food, your soul needs nourishment too. I think Rumi’s mystical poems are exactly the type of nourishment that a soul needs. Using wisdom and wit, Rumi explains what soul is and why it is important to be in touch with your soul and gives advice on how nurture your spirituality. Present in all of his poems is the Sufi philosophy of love, which he defines beautifully in the following lines, “A love with no object is true love. Leave parti ...more
Jimmy Ele
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uber-favorites
“A man once asked Rumi, "Why is it you talk so much about silence?" His answer: "The radiant one inside me has never said a word.”

This is exactly how I feel about trying to review this book. Words can not describe the fluid ocean of wisdom that is contained within it. I have quoted my favorite moments, however there comes a point in one's reading where you realize that to continue to fully quote every piece of beauty would be to quote the whole book itself. There are moments in this book where
Bianca Christine
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As written in the Preface, "these poems need to be released from their cages." Rumi, who I only recently learned about, writes from a deep and diverse place. He writes about the importance of the human-becoming-God transition in which each individual looks within themselves for answers; in their mistakes, discoveries and life journey. It is, without a doubt, a breath of fresh air! It filled me, in more ways than one, with immense gratitude for those who are in my life past and present for having ...more
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A complex and challenging set of poems. Rumi is sprawling, discursive, and undisciplined, sometimes switching gears halfway through his train of thought and often leaping from one set of metaphors to another. Sometimes parables, sometimes stories ending in non-sequiturs, sometimes little wise epigrams, sometimes bawdy fables, sometimes startling pieces of disjointed imagery, Rumi's poetry is demanding, but it also has a scriptural quality that seeps through the pores and crawls around the edges ...more
Charlotte  Wrenn
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Coleman Barks has done the world a great service. I just read this from cover to cover after years of just reading the poems. The prose, which helps to clarify Rumi is as poetic as Rumi himself. This is a magical tome. Do yourself a favor. Read the whole thing from first page to last. WOW. Thank you Mr. Barks.
Piers Moore Ede
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Coleman Barks can do little wrong in my opinion. His work offers something far more than mere 'translation.' I believe a hint of Rumi's own deep insight comes through in Coleman's words: they are playful, wise, and thought-provoking, but most of all full of heart. Surely no one has ever translated mystical poetry better than this.
got about half way through...taking my dandy time reading this one...u have to savor rumi...or its just not worth reading...
although recently dr. nasr said said in a lecture that barks isn't one of the best translation....
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is my favorite Rumi collection. And I desperatley want to fall in love with his words. However, whenever I am reading him, I think, I wish I was reading Hafiz. Hafiz was his prodigy. For a really good time check out The Gift by Hafiz.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I can never finish reading this book. Not possible. It is awesome to flip open to a random page on a quiet moment and taste the juice of the soul as concocted by Rumi. Don't know about the original, but Coleman Barks has obviously done an amazing work of translating it.
Aug 01, 2008 added it
Rumi is a type of mysticism that really enchants and inspires me. It's the closest thing I have to religion, though I think of it more as spirituality. He uses tons of metaphors and really draws you in. I got this book recently after not reading Rumi for a few years.
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Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī - also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, Mevlânâ/Mawlānā (مولانا, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (مولوی, "my master") and more popularly simply as Rumi - was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic who lived in Konya, a city of Ottoman Empire (Today's Turkey). His poems have been widely translated into many of the world's lan ...more

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“We watch a sunlight dust dance,
and we try to be that lively,
but nobody knows what music those particles hear.

Each of us has a secret companion musician to dance to.
Unique rhythmic play, a motion in the street we alone know and hear.”

On the day I die, when I'm being carried
toward the grave, don't weep. Don't say,

He's gone! He's gone. Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and

the moon sets, but they're not gone.
Death is a coming together. The tomb

looks like a prison, but it's really
release into union. The human seed goes

down in the ground like a bucket into
the well where Joseph is. It grows and

comes up full of some unimagined beauty.
Your mouth closes here, and immediately

opens with a shout of joy there.


One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.

There's a bankruptcy that's pure gain.
The moon stays bright when it
doesn't avoid the night.

A rose's rarest essence
lives in the thorn.


Childhood, youth, and maturity,
and now old age.

Every guest agrees to stay
three days, no more.

Master, you told me to
remind you. Time to go.


The angel of death arrives,
and I spring joyfully up.

No one knows what comes over me
when I and that messenger speak!


When you come back inside my chest no matter how far I've wandered off,
I look around and see the way.

At the end of my life, with just one breath left, if you come then, I'll sit up and sing.


Last night things flowed between us
that cannot now be said or written.

Only as I'm being carried out
and down the road, as the folds of my shroud open in the wind,

will anyone be able to read, as on
the petal-pages of a turning bud,
what passed through us last night.


I placed one foot on the wide plain
of death, and some grand
immensity sounded on the emptiness.

I have felt nothing ever
like the wild wonder of that moment.

Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
in time, sacrificed.”
More quotes…