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The Gift

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4.39  ·  Rating details ·  8,667 ratings  ·  439 reviews
More than any other Persian poet, it is perhaps Hafiz who accesses the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the "Tongue of the Invisible."

With this stunning collection of 250 of Hafiz's most intimate poems, Daniel Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in capturing the ess
...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Penguin Compass (first published 1999)
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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 ·  8,667 ratings  ·  439 reviews


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Andrew Sydlik
Jun 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Spiritual and Poetic Chicanery
The most important point is that this book is NOT a book of translations of Hafez. Instead, it is a book of original poetry by Daniel Ladinsky, "inspired by" Hafez. Other reviewers have pointed this out, but obviously, this book's high rating and continued commercial success show that this is not well enough known. I purchased this for a poetry book discussion group, and now I feel ripped off. No one else there knew of this when I told them at the meeting (I only f
...more
Jane
Jun 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hafiz, whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad, is the most beloved poet of Persia. He spent nearly all his life in Shiraz, where he became a famous Sufi master. When he died he was thought to have written an estimated 5,000 poems, of which 500 to 700 have survived. ( Daniel)


It Felt Love

How
Did the rose
Ever open it’s heart

And give this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too

Frightened.

....when you open your heart you share your beauty wi
...more
Rick
May 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Alert! Should be marketed as: BY Daniel Ladinsky ...INSPIRED BY Hafiz
E. Hope
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
This compilation of wisdom speaks for itself, however, I would like to share one of the poems that particularly moved me, an invitation, if you will, to "The Gift" of Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master.

"With That Moon Language"

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
"Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud:
Otherwise,
Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always say
...more
Maryam
May 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-of-mh
The Gift was nothing but a let down from Daniel Ladinsky. Rather than translations of Hafez’ work, these are merely Daniel’s poems perhaps influenced by Hafez. I spent hours breaking down these poems with my Persian father who has studied Hafez for decades and even he was unable to find clues as to where the poems came from. Overall, disappointing and a mockery of the great poet.
Kate
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
As others have pointed out, this book is not Hafiz. It's Ladinsky. Reading it, you'll figure it out pretty quickly. The language is just not in keeping with Hafiz. Nice thoughts in many of the poems, though. Just, not Hafiz. If you want the real Hafiz, I would suggest "Hafiz of Shiraz", which is translated by Avery and Heath-Stubbs. 30 poems of the real thing. ...more
dianne
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hafez is the Answer to every question.
As i prepared to, & traveled as much of Iran as i was allowed by the nation system (that, really, is only relevant to Iran and maybe Egypt, as few places have approximated the same borders, language and culture for millennia) i was introduced to the magic of Hafez. Iran is a place that values poets and artists beyond politicians, celebrities, billionaires.
Daily, the grave of Hafez is crowded by mourners, laying perfect roses, lovers sneaking kisses in corne
...more
Jan
Jul 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry, new-age
These poems just aren't a translation in any sense. They're a bunch of New Age poems that Daniel Ladinsky wrote himself and claims are inspired by his reading of Hafez. ...more
Lisajean
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
This book is not a translation of Hafez, it's original (and mediocre) poetry by David Ladinsky masquerading as a translation. ...more
Trish
How can it be that Ladinsky's translation captures such a feel of contemporaneity? Or perhaps I should say that we Americans are more familiar with Wahhabi Islam so that we don't realize the mystical, playful, spiritual side of Islam may derive from Sufism, or Sufi Islam which this gorgeous book of poems by the Sufi Master Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) captures.

It is difficult to even reproduce my favorite poems here because of their unusual form, sometimes just one word in a line. The poems have a shape
...more
Natacha Pavlov
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This collection of 136 poems by Persian Sufi master poet Hafiz (c. 1320 – 1389) will delight readers of any faith looking for humor and to explore his view of the world –or more accurately- of his God.

The poems’ most recurring themes include love, tolerance, fanaticism, forgiveness and God. Most of the poems speak of love and rather ‘unorthodox’ metaphors for God abound throughout his verses. The reader, whether spiritual or not, may be delighted by his habit of speaking of, or to, God in a rat
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Caroline
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
I’m just not the mystical type, I guess. Some of the poems are lovely, but they don’t move me. It was interesting to read this at the same time as Jahiz, a very rational writer. In one poem Hafiz writes:

I am saved
from all reason
And surrender understanding


and in another

The appearance of this world
Is a Magi’s brilliant trick


whereas Jafiz says, on being asked how a believer knows to believe the signs of the Prophet:

The onlooker is convinced by evidence only if he already has experience of the worl
...more
Michelle Bercier
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was somewhat duped into thinking that these poems were in fact written by Hafiz....well they were not. What gave it away...words like menu and violin. Hafiz lived during approximately 1320 and 1389. I googled and the violin was invented in the 1500s and well menu is a modern day word.

I don't know if I will continue on...sadly dissapointed that the author gives the impression that he's translated Hafizs' poems. It's now obvious he's written poems that are inspired by Hafiz.

Here's a link to pr
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Shandana
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
the great sufi poet rumi gets all the accolades but let's not forget the beautiful, mystical work by the equally great sufi poet hafiz. one can learn a lot by reading this collection of 250 poems, one of which reads:

even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth:
"you owe me."

look what happens
with a love like that
it lights up the whole sky
...more
Robin
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Fantastic translations of 14th century Sufi master. Hafiz's poems are inspirational, playful, hilarious, and love-filled. A book for all spiritual seekers. ...more
Stefanie
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For the longest time Rumi was my favoritest Sufi poet. He's funny, daring at times, and never failed to make me feel peaceful when reading his wise words. Well now Hafiz has gone and tied with Rumi for the gold. Hafiz is funny, daring, and makes me feel happy when I read him. What's a girl to do? I must embrace them both.

Hafiz was born about 100 years after Rumi in about 1320. To put him in a little perspective, he was a contemporary of Chaucer. There is no consensus on how many of Hafiz's poems
...more
Christópher Abreu Rosario
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have fallen in love with a man who has been dead for 625 years. Hafiz, where have you been all my life? Or perhaps I am more in love with Daniel Ladinsky who has, loosely, translated the poems of Hafez [a.k.a], known as the Great Sufi Master.

In The Gift, we are privileged to a collection of poems that speak on Hafiz’s love for God and the knowledge that that love has given him. I have never read such poetry that moved me so, and gave me an understanding I did not have before. I like poetry to
...more
Ridhika Khanna
Nov 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crappy-reads, poetry
Picked up this book because of its popularity and because of the fact that I have a keen interest in Persian Poets.
I liked the introduction of this book where I got to know about Hafez and his life. That was the only part worth reading in this book.
As I progressed further, a little after 2 chapters, it came to me that either Hafez was an over-rated poet or the translations are way too lousy. I read further keeping an open mind but I could barely find any poem worth reading. Later while browsing
...more
Lee Kuiper
Jun 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If words were liquid, reading Hafiz would be the closest thing to drinking joy. His poems are simply intoxicating. They go down easy. They will set you abuzz with both the celestially divine and mischievously mundane that hover all around you, unbeknownst to you. For but a brief moment his words will cover you with their puckish wit and solace, leaving you flush and aglow.

I often recommend Hafiz to people who claim “poetry is not for me,” especially if they have suffered from bad experiences of
...more
Sahar Jennah
Jan 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Truly incredible, beautiful, and heart warming. Now one of my fav poetry books. Reading this makes me want to go and read more of Hafiz’s work he is such an amazing writer and his words really touched my soul.
E.
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
My review for The Gift was harder to write than I thought it would be. Not for lack of love for this book or its clever turns of phrase. I can quite honestly count this book among those that significantly impacted my perspective and encouraged me to develop a more passionate, contemplative, and meaningful relationship with my life. I've shared copy upon copy with my loved ones (as a copy was originally shared with me by a loved one). I've spent hours conversing with my friends about the ideas co ...more
Sincerae
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, sufi-poetry
Because of this book now I'm conflicted about which Sufi poet I love the best, Rumi or Hafiz.

In 2012 I went to Konya, Turkey and saw where Rumi was laid to rest centuries ago. I have yet to go to Shiraz, Iran the city of poets and roses where Hafiz spent most of his life and where he is buried. A few years ago world traveler Rick Steves went to Iran and of the many places he visited one was the tomb of Hafiz, where devotees of his poetry still visit and read his poems beside his tomb. I was tol
...more
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I started writing poetry after being introduced to Rumi, and then jaki got 3 of Ladinsky's translations and I was transported into another World. THIS is where I belong. I am unable to find this place except through Hafiz, and I am pretty weary of ever being able to communicate clearly to anyone in real life about how clear his messages are in this book. But at least I have him, dancing in my mind, smiling sadly at me and then going off to play with God. I have wirtten ...more
Katie
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
The Gift is a collection of Hafiz poems translated to English by Daniel Ladinsky. In the preface, Daniel describes the hours he has spent studying Hafiz's work, and how, above all else, he attempts to capture the essence of each poem. (Most know that translation of feeling/words is not always perfect.)

Everyone seems a bit upset about this. As for me, I just wanted to read some beautiful poetry.

I've always connected with Hafiz and Rumi's thoughts on love, nature, happiness and connection; the mo
...more
Cyrus
May 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
THIS IS NOT HAFEZ. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! IT IS BAD POETRY, SPIRITUAL FRAUD AND MARKETING CHARLATANRY! Sorry to yell but it's important. This book sucks. Its not Hafez but crummy New Age numbskullery. As poetry it sucks. As cultural appropriation of the riches of Persian literature it is shameful in its deceit. Under no conceivable circumstances whatsoever should you buy this book.

The closest to the words and lines of Hafez are Reza Saberi's translations. Saberi actually speaks Persian and is a
...more
Carolyn
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
surprisingly brisk, funny, amazing poems you wouldn't believe were written so long ago. they are love poems to God and they are passionate! ...more
Otchen Makai
What I didn't know when I first started reading this,
is that the poems were not actually by Hafiz,
but more about him and or to him.
The author does state that he took wild liberties with his loosely translated poems.
Was a little disappointed to learn that as I had gone into this thinking it was hafiz poems.
However, the poems were not terrible. Hence the 3 stars.
Some of them are very Hafiz in their essence.
Others, well, very loosely translated with lots of liberties. heh.
Not a bad book, overal
...more
Keith Taylor
Aug 29, 2021 rated it it was ok
Certainly worth calling this into account, although I suspect most people reading this will have a pretty clear sense of it before they finish even the second poem. We have seen other very free versions of Sufi poetry, and many of them have had a certain New-Age life. But if you make even a small journey into the forms of poetry from the Islamic world in Central Asia, you realize these have little to do with it. Hafiz wrote ghazals, but you'd have no sense of what a ghazal is by this book.

Now,
...more
Scriptor Ignotus
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, middle-east, islam
Stop Being So Religious

What/Do sad people have in/common?

It seems/They have all built a shrine/To the past

And often go there/And do a strange wail and/Worship.

What is the beginning of/Happiness?

It is to stop being/So religious

Like/That



I can't presume to know how much of these poems is Hafez, and how much is Daniel Ladinsky. Translating anything from a middle eastern language into a European one is a notoriously tricky affair. If nothing else, Ladinsky at least takes a "loose" interpretation of H
...more
Nicole Taylor
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book a year and a half ago, to bring some sweetness into my mornings after experiencing a great loss. I would read at least one poem out loud to myself as a way to feel like I had stepped into the field of love and was wrapped in the sacred. This almost daily practice served me well, so finishing the book is bittersweet. I noticed whatever poem I read that morning would follow me into the day, inviting me to notice and appreciate beauty in different forms. Some scholars sa ...more
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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
...more

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