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The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  4,190 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Now in paperback, this is the definitive collection of America′s bestselling poet Rumi′s finest poems of love and lovers. In Coleman Barks′ delightful and wise renderings, these poems will open your heart and soul to the lover inside and out.

′There are lovers content with longing.

I′m not one of them.′

Rumi is best known for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries o
...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published January 18th 2003 by HarperOne (first published 2002)
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Deepthi
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Let me tell you an anecdote. Two years ago, on a certain sunny day, I was walking home after my classes. I was missing home but wasn’t sad nor was I feeling any sense of loneliness; I was quite happy that day. I was listening to Thais from Meditation Act II, a composition of Jules Massenet and my mind was quite at peace. The day seemed quite ordinary; nothing spectacular was happening anywhere within my sight. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, something overwhelming happened to me. I have a ha ...more
Caterina (on hiatus)
The Music We Are

Did you hear that winter’s over?
The basil and the carnations

cannot control their laughter.
The nightingale, back from his wandering,

has been made singing master over
all the birds. The trees reach out

their congratulations. The soul
goes dancing through the king’s doorway.

Anemones blush because the have seen
the rose naked. Spring, the only fair

judge, walks in the courtroom, and
several December thieves steal away.

Last year’s miracles will soon be
forgotten. New creatures whirl in

from
...more
Stephen
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure whom to give credit for this book to, Rumi or Coleman Barks. For the gift of translating it we certainly owe a debt to Barks but for the power and the truth contained we more deeply owe Rumi.

This is not a book of love poems for a sweetheart or a Valentine. This is a book to be given or read only in the cases of deepest and most positive realization that your life is bound up in another; romantic or otherwise. These poems are not about the kind of love which belongs on Hallmark car
...more
Germán
Oct 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: trash
The rating of one star is for Barks and his appropriation and raping of Mowlavi's masterpiece. Do yourself a big favor and skip this. If you must use a translation and if you really want to taste some of the wisdom of West Asia, Reynold Alleyne Nicholson's is what you are looking for. Unlike Barks, Nicholson actually knew Persian...

Sure enough Barks is talented: it takes lots of skill to turn some of the most eloquent prose, one closest to human nature and its connection with a transcendental re
...more
Judy Croome
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
The problem with translations is that one never knows how much of what one is reading is the translator’s voice, and how much is the original artist’s voice.

Banks is credited with “popularising” Rumi’s works in America. That’s the essence of the difficulty I had with this translation. To “translate” a work, one “expresses the sense of (a word, book etc) in another language”, while to “popularise” a work is to “present a specialised subject in a popular or readily understandable form”.

In his no
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Jonathanstray Stray
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The man wrote 800 years ago in a radically different language and culture, and every word comes through.
Christina
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On my end table forever. To be read every day. Rumi. Everyone needs to read the whole collection of Rumi books.
Edita
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, rumi
You had better run from me.
My words are fire.
*
In the dream you’re running toward a mirage.
As you run, you’re proud of being the one
who sees the oasis.

[…] This love of spying far-off
satisfactions, this traveling, keeps you

from tasting the real water of where you are,
and who.
Richa Kashelkar
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A lot of people have mistakenly considered this to be a book about romantic love, about love between two people. I guess this is why Rumi is the word of God for fanatic lovers and is quoted so extensively. (I was guilty of this too, at one point!)

The book is actually about something else altogether, and something way beyond the scope of worldly emotions and relationships. The call of longing and the ecstasy of union he writes of is all about our search for our Self, or God, whichever you choose.
...more
Vee
May 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
I came across this book while looking for a decent translation to supplement my own reading of the originals.

Coleman Barks neither speaks nor reads Persian, Turkish, or Arabic, the languages in which Rumi composed his poetry. He has based his "translation" on the works of other Rumi translators. As a result, all form, structure, and rhythm is lost, along with any diluted meaning he may have found.

Not only that, but he refers in his introduction and notes to the Bible. In a collection of works b
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Tom Emanuel
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality, poetry
Rather than attempt to review the wonder that is Coleman Barks's sterling re-interpretations of Rumi's staggeringly beautiful mystic poetry, I'm going to simply extract four lines that have been blowing my mind pretty consistently in recent days:

"Why did you stop praising?"
"Because I've never heard anything back."
"This longing you express
is the return message." (from "Love Dogs," p. 146)

...and there it is. My mind is blown. As it was by almost every freaking poem in this collection. Let the prai
...more
kylajaclyn
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Really 2.5 stars... I give 3 for Rumi's poetry but deduct points for the translator, who puts far too much of himself in this book. He even includes a phone number to give you a free CD of his. Um, okay? I came here to read enlightening poetry, not to be shelled your products. Ugh. ...more
Huda AbuKhoti
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book after many references made by Khaled Hosseini to Rumi and Forough Farrokhzad.

As a Muslim this is entirely new to me.
New to me in the aspect that I felt like I was reading a book that is more related to Zen more so than Islam; that is why I carried on reading the poetry from that aspect.

It wasn't a religious book for me but more of spiritual and fictitious, that was the only way that let me enjoy it and finish it.

Having said that I loved a lot of the poetry, didn't ge
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Mena Asaad
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m already a fan of Sufism and this book was so good I was literally drowning inside the poems.

“We tremble, thinking we’re about to dissolve into nonexistence, but nonexistence fears even more that it might be given human form.”

“I am so small I can barely be seen, how can this great love be inside me.”

“If anyone asks you to say who you are, say without hesitation, soul within soul, within soul.”

“How is it with this love, I see your world and not you.”
.
joycesu
May 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
To be perfectly honest, I thought Rumi's Book of Love was a little overrated. Perhaps it was just my translation, but I thought a lot of the poems alluded to obscure cultural (and obviously religious) themes, which makes it extremely curious to me why he is so popularly quoted in modern America. Anyway, there were a few shreds of lightness that I did capture and like, which made up for the parables that were not absorbed... and of course, those are the most quotable. Somehow this bothers me; it ...more
Hoda Marmar
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book
"Coleman Barks ... neither speaks nor reads Persian, he is a popular interpreter of Rumi, rewriting the poems based on other English translations."

That is one of the creepiest statements I have ever read.
This is the second book by Coleman Barks about Rumi's poetry that I have read. But this time, I felt it more pronounced: that feeling that the translation is flawed, something is missing, Sufi poetry must be way deeper and more spiritual, and most certainly less awkwardly written!
I did love some
...more
Dakota
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I believe I made the right decision in choosing to read this collection at spring’s arrival. Looking up from a page of Rumi’s wisdom to the finally visible grass outside, pausing to consider the depth of a poem and hearing the recently returned birds, and smelling renewal in the air all worked to enhance this reading experience for me. Some of the poems themselves reminded me of spring, and after a very long winter, I am welcoming spring with open arms.
(“🎶 Little darlin’, it’s been a long, cold,
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Divya
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't read it end to end, but then again, it's not a novel. That said, some poems in this collection are absolutely exquisite. Among my favourites,

"Excuse my wandering.
How can one be orderly with this?
It's like counting leaves in a garden

along with the song notes of partridges
and crows. Sometimes organisation
and computation become absurd."

And this one is beautiful too,

"If you love love,
look for yourself."

Keep a copy in your shelf to pick a page randomly once in a while and please yourself.
...more
Sadia Mansoor
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, spiritual
"Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along."


Since, its not the actual text but the translation, so didn't enjoy one bit of those "translated poems"... The meaning & essence was lost somewhere because of using such heavy language... :/
Rather than enjoying it, I found all of the poems extremely boring -_-
This is the book about divine love.. http://www.venerabilisopus.org/en/boo...
...more
Lilia Zuhara
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book talks about love. But when you expect kind of love which solely involved feeling, this in not the proper book for you. Rumi talked about love in deeper sight. Love is not only about ecstasy and agony, it's also about the purity of love which also purify your soul. If you really dip yourself into this book, you'll be enlightened at the end. You just can't skim this read. ...more
Shikha
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meryem
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
Rumi gets under your skin like no other poet can. He is one of my favorite poets, along with Pablo Neruda and Charles Bukowski.
Stefani
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
if you like poems, i'm sure this is one the best books out there. i adore rumi so much : ) ...more
A.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Ramadan started, so I have to store it in the unfinished shelf

August 10, 2010

came back to finish it :)

what amazes me the most is Rumi's ability to love.

and I don't think one can find (in a lifetime) many people with such positive vision and endless energy.

and I kept wondering through out the book if Rumi ever met anyone he hated or if those he loved actually deserved all that love...did Rumi ever felt cheated on or experienced jealousy?

it's truly wonderful to contain all that love, but was Rumi
...more
Saadia
Sep 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Coleman Barks is a literary orientalist. He somehow 'translated' Rumi without knowing Persian, without having studied Islam or Sufism. Still, he wrote over a dozen books on Rumi because they turned a profit.
These translations are way out of the lane of the real poems. For authentic translations by students of Persian and Sufism, you should take a look at Persian Poetics on Instagram.
This book is just decontextualization and obscuring of Rumi for coin.
...more
Angeli
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Really nice collection of poetry. I couldn't help myself and I just highlighted everthing I could relate to. According to a passage in the book, Rumi's poetry is gay despite it being labeled like that who cares right? Love is love.

One of my favorites is this line:
Things change; nothing wrong with that. What's truly alive is always changing.
...more
Kayla
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Rumi's poetry and life are mystical and transcendental. I am grateful for stumbling upon this book during a Valentines day apart from my beloved. However, the translator's vignettes at the beginning of each chapter brought me back to the subzero degree lonely day that is right now. Maybe both are connected and need each other but one was delightful and one cost this book two stars;) ...more
Nuke
Jul 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Good for those who still wants to believe that there is indeed enough love in this world. Is there?
Mohit
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A third world journey without drinking.
Kritika Gupta
Deep thoughts, relatable. Hard to understand sometimes. Can become boring, so need to switch to other books in between.
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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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