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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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,181 ratings  ·  105 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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 ·  1,181 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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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.
Pat Settegast
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
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
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
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 a
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
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, 2012-reads
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
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. ...more
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, poetry
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. ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, read-2019
Quite a different Hafiz collection than the other I read. Both great, but in different registers. (I do not know whether this is fundamental to Hafiz or more a result of different translators.)

Among many favorites, I particularly liked:
I Saw You Dancing
Out of the Mouths of a Thousand Birds
Absolutely Clear.
Uma Dwivedi
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
i adore hafiz and got myself this collection of his love poems for valentine’s day. it was wonderful, as hafiz is. i had some quibbles about translator choices, i don’t know the original texts or even translated versions well enough to be able to specify, but there were moments where it did feel the words had lost in translation a certain light
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful words, universal sentiments from one of my spiritual mentors.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love 'In a Tree House'

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.

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.
Jan 24, 2009 is currently reading it
Shelves: spiritual, poetry
ecstatic poems to God!
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Hafiz's poetry is a good touchstone that helps me remember almost everything that needs remembering. ...more
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..." ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The translator shows very clearly in this, but I like it.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A spectacular translation of Hafiz's sweet poetry.

Hafiz is a Sufi poet like Rumi or Farid Al-Din Attar. Like both of them, every poem he writes is a psalm to the ecstatic love of God. You read the same metaphors that inspire other Sufi poetries: romantic love, burning fire, bruised lips, and so much wine.

Hafiz is Persia's best loved poet but less known in the United States. He has a remarkable wit and a gift for conciseness. Even if you don't know much about Sufi mysticism, he has a way with a p
Judy Lindow
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
"A poet is someone who can pour light into a cup, then raise it to nourish your beautiful parched, holy mouth." This was Hafiz's response when he was asked, What is a poet? Here, the metaphors are as brilliant as they are delightful. I came to a poem knowing I'd be touched, surprised, and smiling. You won't read similes that use 'like' and 'as', Hafez will be that bird, will be that sky, that beautiful day - or the day will be that bird, the song will be ... you get the picture, haha.

Hafez was a
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
The book itself is not terrible, nor great. It is quite repetitive both in themes (as expected) and in its use of language (which wasn't as welcome). It must be noted that this is NOT a translation, but a reinterpretation BASED on a PREVIOUS translation. It says so in the introduction note by Ladinsky so, while I think it's a little unfair to call him out for lying, the advertising of the book is certainly decivious. Rather than "Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky", it should be "Daniel Ladinsk ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
You hold the title to."

"This is the kind of Friend
You are —
Without making me realize
My soul’s anguished history,
You slip into my house at night,
And while I am sleeping,
You silently carry off
All my suffering and sordid past
In Your beautiful

"As soon as you opened your mouth
And I heard your soft
I knew we would be
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
Elaine Ball
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
i love poems by Hafiz, this has some excellent ones, but it many are a bit too racy for my taste. Daniel Ladinsky does a great job translating works of Hafiz, i have most of them and like them all very much.good night time quiet reading.
Jerry Winsett
Jul 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hafiz is truly a poet touched by God.

His poems are insightful, deeply moving at times and often laugh out loud funny.

Reading a Hafiz poem once a day will make that day a much, much better one.
Netta De beer
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anything about Hafez is beautiful..excellent poetry .
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: far-east
Young wine
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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

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