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The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz
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The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

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4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,000 ratings  ·  83 reviews
To Persians, the fourteenth-century poems of Hafiz are not classical literature from a remote past, but cherished love, wisdom, and humor from a dear and intimate friend. Perhaps, more than any other Persian poet, it is Hafiz who most fully accesses the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Daniel Ladinsky has made it his life's work to create modern, inspired translatio ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published January 28th 2003 by Penguin Compass (first published 1996)
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4.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,000 ratings  ·  83 reviews


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Patrick
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been trying to read more poetry lately. It's something I used to do a lot of, but over the years I've slowly left it behind.

If you haven't read Hafiz, he's one of the great Persian poets. He's funny and arrogant and ridiculous and wise. These newer translations are a real treat, and in my opinion, even people who aren't particularly into poetry have a decent chance of really enjoying them.
Ben
Aug 23, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
THIS BOOK IS A CON! It is not written by Hafiz, and the twerp who wrote it - Daniel Ladinsky - should have his writing hand cut off for identity theft. He is billed as translator but claims to "interpret" Hafiz. In fact, many of the poems are originals and not translations or interpretations (which explains why they are so terrible).

If this jerk Ladinsky had a single moral fiber in his body, he would confess that he is a fake and a phony. He has, in fact, stolen Hafiz's good name and used it for
...more
Jonfaith
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetshere
Being honest, I was poised to hate the book, Daniel Ladinsky has managed a dubious reputation as translator, blamed by quite a few as a shill larding self-help affirmations with traces of ancient poetry.

That sounds like a case for Arno Schmidt—but he’s dead.

I don’t know about the degree of license taken but I did appreciate the images. There’s a drunken ecstasy at play. There are poetic love bruises. Sure, there are anachronisms, I have doubts Hafiz was preoccupied with being cool or ever waxed
...more
Cyrus
May 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
I AM A FLUENT PERSIAN-SPEAKER AND THIS IS NOT HAFEZ. LADINSKY THE LEECH HAS MADE UP ALL THESE POEMS. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! IT IS BAD POETRY, SPIRITUAL FRAUD AND MARKETING CHARLATANRY! I'm sorry to yell my dear brothers and sisters, but it's important. This book sucks. Its not Hafez in any way shape or form but crummy New Age numbskullery pulled out of Ladinsky's backside. As poetry it sucks. As cultural appropriation of the riches of Persian literature it is shameful in its deceit. Under no conc ...more
Miroku Nemeth
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
No one can keep us from carrying God
Wherever we go.

No one can rob His Name
From our heart as we try to relinquish our fears
And at last stand -- Victorious.

We do not have to leave him in the mosque
Or church alone at night;

We do not have to be jealous of tales of saints
Or glorious masts, those intoxicated souls
Who can make outrageous love with the Friend.

We do not have to be envious of our spirits’ ability
Which can sometimes touch God in a dream.

Our yearning eyes, our warm-needing bodies,
Can all be
...more
Sean A.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
For someone who has read quite a bit of 'foreign language' poetry translated into english, i must admit that i don't know a ton about the art of translation and how it affects the outcome of what works i am reading. Still, I must say that while these translations often flirted with being even a bit too gritty and robust, often they shone with a diamond-clarity.
As for the poems themselves, I must say i am a bit at odds with the whole god-thing, being an agnostic at best. Yet i could often relat
...more
Jennifer
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-reads, poetry
I have dire suspicions about Daniel Ladinsky and his "translations," particularly given that he lists no scholarly (or even lingual) qualifications at all. If walking in the desert and being inspired qualified you to translate from the Persian, Hunter S. Thompson would've had a hell of a different career. This was my first attempt at Hafiz, and sadly I'll have to withhold judgment on the poet as I'm honestly not sure how much of his work is actually included in this book, and how much is simply ...more
Cecily
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any lover of poetry and/or life...or those seeking such things
Hafiz is the man, by the way. He was a fourteenth-century poet who spouts the most profound spiritual poetry I've ever come across. Perfect for taking walks in the woods and hollering his poems out to the trees at the top of your lungs (I do highly recommend doing this at least once before you die). Also appropriate to be lying around in a doctor's office, nursing home, or any other space where the joy of life is needing to be remembered. A must-have.
Bobby
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
Comparisons to Rumi are obvious though I find Hafiz to be less subtle and less mystical. And although I absoultely love Rumi and would pick him over Hafiz if I had to, some of the poems in this collection are truly amazing and I look forward to reading more Hafiz in the future.
Shokufeh شکوفه  Kavani کاوانی
Really dear Hafez, that is what we are all missing in today's sad world.
Sandy
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful words, universal sentiments from one of my spiritual mentors.
Anima
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love 'In a Tree House'

"Light
will someday split you open
even if your life is now a cage,

For a divine seed, the crown of destiny,
is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain
that you hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open
into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy
A life-giving radiance will come,

O look again within yourself,
For I know you were once the elegant host
To all the marvels in creation.

From a sacred crevice in your body,
a bow rises each night
and shoots your soul into God.

B
...more
David
Jan 24, 2009 is currently reading it
Shelves: poetry, spiritual
ecstatic poems to God!
Pete
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ladinsky breathes fire into Hafez' poems. " The gauge of a great love-poem is the size of the love-bruise it can weave into your soul..."
Rachel
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, poetry, theology
Hafiz's poetry is a good touchstone that helps me remember almost everything that needs remembering.
Sayeeda Carter
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hafiz is the sweetest poet I have ever come across. Reading his work especially that translated by Daniel Ladinsky is as beneficial as prayer or going to church.
Brook Louis
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It’s hard not to fall in love with our Beloved Friend. Am I talking about Hafiz or God? I assume Hafiz would laugh at my answer: both. This short book provides blissful reminders to Love God, and Hafiz invites us to first receive his love. Then, from sitting and playing with him through his poetry, we fall in love with him. But he is not the end; Hafiz’s love and our love of him is just the beginning to falling in love with God—Love itself. To receive and offer Love to God and Humanity is our gr ...more
Marley
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-shelf
Edited my rating after learning that apparently Daniel Ladinsky is a real heel and doesn't translate Hafiz as much as puts his own spin on poems. It would appear there's significant controversy there, which is sad because there are so many poems in here I enjoyed. That said, I think my next foray into Hafiz will be from a different translator though.
Christine
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Hafiz is an incomparable poet, every piece sounds fresh, not centuries old. normally 5 stars, no doubt. However, I'm giving the book 3 stars because I didn't like how Ladinsky unnecessarily used modern slang to make it sound updated, it distracted me from the essence of the work.
Talha
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A good read but not as captivating as "The gift"
Vivian Rose
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic collection worth reading!
Netta De beer
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anything about Hafez is beautiful..excellent poetry .
Dinah
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Completed Book 15: May 1. With your eyes open and your mind wide, you'll find that love really is, all around. The Subject Tonight is Love by beloved ancient Persian poet Hafiz is a guide to love in all its many forms. It's a reminder of the relationships that make up our daily lives; romantic relationships, familial ties, and our connection to every beautiful piece of nature. The stars and moons and flowers are praised in this collection. After a hard day (or week, or month) the only remedy for ...more
Leanna
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
According to the back of the book, Hafiz is "the most treasured poet of Persia" and wrote during the fourteenth century. The poems are sweet and uplifting. I'm not used to religious poetry, which is what this is. In many ways, actually, Hafiz's style reminded me of the Song of Solomon in the Bible. One poem in particular stuck out to me because of its imagery, "A Potted Plant." It goes:

I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.

And at night I let my pet the moon
Run freely into the sky meadow.

If I
...more
Chanakya
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, world
Beautiful verse, that seems to rest on the tenet that all existence is holy and interconnected, and all suffering and misery stems from being disconnected from this 'truth'. The result is poetry that extols the corporeal - "every desire of your body is holy" - sympathies with the lost, and shows great faith in humanity and its future. If you want text that loves and celebrates you, do give this a read.
The text also shows a great faith in the divine - that it exists, has a plan and is benevolent
...more
Philip
This book is a quick read, but contains so much beautiful imagery. Also, even though it is Islamic mysticism, there is a great deal that a Christian should find challenging. For example, this quote: "If you have not been taking your medicine lately by saying your prayers every day, how can Hafiz seriously listen to all your heartaches about life or God?" Or this: "Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut more deep.... Something missing in my heart tonight has made ... my need of Go ...more
Chris Heaney
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with souls
It's very spiritual, but it's also very earthy. Tremendous. It also has a lot of poems that are all about being an art-star -- think Talib Kweli as a 13th century(?) Sufi mystic. One of my favorites:

It's tremendous:

"That Sounds Wonderful"

Good poetry
Makes a beautiful naked woman
Materialize from
Words,

Who then says
With a sword precariously waving
In her hands,

"If you look at my loins
I will cut off your head,

And reach down and grab your spirit
By its private parts,

And carry you off to heaven
Squealing
...more
Patti K
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Originally published in this English translation in 1996 and reprinted in 2003.
Hafez was a fourteenth century poet and mystic in Persia and widely celebrated.
If you have read Rumi verses, then you would probably enjoy these as well.
In one of the first poems collected in this volume is the line: "Change rooms
in your mind for a day." Always be ready for what each moment may bring.
Also, "Everyone is trudging along
With as much dignity, courage
And style

As they possibly
Can."
Many lyrical words to t
...more
Ben Gold
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: poets, atheists, deists, anti-poets, Irish Shepards, German Sitters.
Absurd-joyful-beautiful-love.

Emphasis on absurd. Love as it was meant to be; poetry before the children died and set an iron and cement monument to mark the ground.

But that's too chippy. It's blushing red cheeks, it's love without transgression. Required reading for anyone fed the hell up with contemporary religion.

They need some word for sexy-spiritual-fun. There's no word for that in English; pity.

Look it's light and lovely and I highly recommend it, okay?
Lisa
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The last few months have been difficult on a lot of levels. A friend of mine gave me two Ladinsky translations of Hafiz poetry. They've sat on my nightstand and I've read anywhere between 3 or 4 to 20+/week. I love how such light and playful, pithy phrases can serve to help me reframe how I'm seeing things. I wish I could approach every day with the powerful, centered joy that infuses these poems.
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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
“For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.”
403 likes
“For I have learned that every heart will get
What it prays for
Most.”
361 likes
More quotes…