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The Gift

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  6,056 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
More than any Persian poet, even Rumi, Hafiz expanded the mystical healing dimensions of poetry. Because it often consisted of ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, Hafiz's poetry gained him the nickname "Invisible Tongue". In this collection of Hafiz's most intimate poems, Daniel Ladinsky offers the essence of one of Islam's greatest voices.
Published March 1st 2001 by Audio Literature (first published 1999)
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Andrew Sydlik
Jun 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Lucille Siebert
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
Jun 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

Did the rose
Ever open it’s heart

And give this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain



....when you open your heart you share your beauty wi
E. Hope
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Willing Spirits
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:
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
May 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alert! Should be marketed as: BY Daniel Ladinsky ...INSPIRED BY Hafiz
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 c
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
Natacha Pavlov
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Christópher Abreu Rosario
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christópher by: Amanda Stokes
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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone that wants to be human
Recommended to Tony by: Jaki
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
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicole Taylor
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Taymara Jagmohan
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gift isn't one of the best books I have read, but it boils some spiritual words, and meanings.
My favorite "The Earth wouldn't be alive if the Sun stopped kissing it."
"Life, life, life is too sacred to end."

Hafiz has been been a role model in the eyes of many; but Im sure he serves as a replica of all the better spiritual beings such as Rumi, Kabir, Shams, Saadi, Francis of Assisi and Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Prophet, Sand and Foam and other works by KHALIL Gibran were so more imaginative and be
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The most beautiful gift. The most stunning poetry I have ever read. The voice of a friend, carried across oceans, through centuries. The book I gift to friends in times of challenge, and happiness, simply as a gift, the best gift I can think of. Probably the most life-changing book I've ever read, and I am trying not to exaggerate ;-) Highly recommended.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
surprisingly brisk, funny, amazing poems you wouldn't believe were written so long ago. they are love poems to God and they are passionate!
Jul 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ridhika Khanna
Nov 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, crappy-reads
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
 The Black Geek
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I acquired this book, many moons ago, during a bookstore exploration of the San Francisco Bay Area. At that time, I had never heard anything about this poet's work and decided to buy it anyway; I am glad that I did...
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Scriptor Ignotus
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


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
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Hafiz was like meeting the reincarnation of an old friend in the middle of a midnight desert encampment, sharing his wine and warmth. Even the most reductionistic cynic may be stirred by the way his words seem to evoke something cosmic, sentient, playful, and loving beyond the veil of what they couldn't possibly know. He's a joker and a rogue spiritual genius, and his reputation as a ecstasic muse for generations of Persians,ancient and modern,is no accident. When I read Hafiz I feel lik ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
A business friend likes to say "Rumi at night, Hafiz in the morning." And while I read both at night--I'm not one for reading in the AM unless I'm at a restaurant and plowing through someone for something I'm writing--there's no question that you're touching gold when you read Hafiz.

Two Bears is among my favorites. And while Ladinski's effort doesn't rival Barks' readings / translations of Rumi, they come close in their ability to wake you up and drive you out into the street as a more alive and
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the message and you feel very light and inspired but I am concerned about the translations. There are serval instances that I have actually rolled my eyes and thought, "that can't be right."

That is the problem with an author that had not been around in 400 years and his work was originally written in Arabic, not English.

I take it with a grain of salt, just like I do all ancient texts that have been translated. Take what you like and leave the rest.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not a translation of Hafez, it's original (and mediocre) poetry by David Ladinsky masquerading as a translation.
Keshav Bhatt
I don't know if this was actually the words of Hafiz, or Daniel Ladinsky (as a lot of reviewers have pointed out). If so, that makes sense. At times the tone didn't seem to fit with other books of Sufi poetry I've read.

Even so, there were a few gems in this "translation/re-hash" of Hafiz' work. The first and foremost that inspired me was the sheer volume of work he put in. It's estimated Shams-ud-din Muhammad wrote over 5000 poems, and only 500 to 700 have even survived. It makes me think two t
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always assumed myself to be a lover of Hafiz, while having really known only a few of his major poems. Reading The Gift was different than what I expected it to be. To someone who has only a knowledge of basic conversational farsi, hearing Hafiz in the original language has always made me assume his poems are of some grand romantic style. Translated into english, many of them become heart-warming, whimsical little moments that I find myself wanting to share with my friends. A good number of ...more
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Earth would die
If the sun stopped kissing her.”
“The heart is a
The thousand-stringed instrument

That can only be tuned with
More quotes…