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VINE VOICEon March 1, 2003
On its surface this collection of simple wisdom would appear almost New-Agey in terms of its contents. The book is essentially just a series of messages sent from a "seeker" to a loved one. Yet there is much that lies beneath the surface and that is very, very genuine at play here. It is in fact the perfect antidote to the sort of fluff that passes for spiritual writing these days. These are messages addressed to the "real" selves that all of us harbour, to the godhead that dwells inside us. Divine light shines through the pages of this book. Forget the self help books for once and allow your mind and spirit to drink in the celestial essence that Hafiz, et al impart. For a real journey of the spirit, take this book along with you to someplace peaceful and quiet and let yourself travel.
BEK
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on December 21, 1998
So much beauty! In this joyous book Hafiz appears to us as a beacon of pure light in contemporary garb. These deeply tender, witty, clear-eyed and fullest-hearted renditions have brightened my life. Hafiz can't help but true the course on our journey towards living Love. Because for him, in fact, nothing else exists. For Hafiz, only Love is Real.
Hafiz has influenced and nourished a great many through the years. In the West, inspired notables include Goethe, Nietzsche, Byron, Hugo and Emerson. Emerson wrote of Hafiz in his journals, "He fears nothing. He sees too far; he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see and be." And Goethe exclaimed, "This is madness, I know well, Hafiz has no peer!"
_I Heard God Laughing_ is a perfect gem of a book. Go ahead. Take Hafiz home with you. Why--he may even lead the way, dancing and singing all the while.
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on August 23, 2000
This work is a glistening gem of a book. Simple, clean, multifaceted, and very very deep at the same time. I have many Persian friends who are familiar with the original poetry and are astonished by the beauty of these renderings. These are not literal translations.....they are inner reflections. They succeed perfectly at reflecting the inner light of Hafiz in a unique way that refreshes one's heart. The imagery and language is perfect for this time. Deep in my heart I am convinced that Hafiz, Rumi, Kabir, Attar, and any other poet and lover of God would applaud.
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on January 31, 2001
Having read the very critical review by "Ali" who seems to fail to comprehend the difficulty in translating Hafiz into English I would like to defend the "Renderings". I have read just about every English translation of anything that Hafiz wrote beginning with Clark and ending with Bly. There is no way to translate without loosing something and unfortunately the beauty, the melody, and the rythym of the original farsi is lost in all the translations by the virtue of the language differences. "I heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz" is well named and titled. There is a spirit behind the poetry that is captured in these renderings that I am sure Hafiz himself would approve of. It is that beauty that I am sure he wanted to in some small way capture for future generations as he shared his devout love affair with the "beloved rose" of his life. The renderings will help any sincere aspirant on the road to the "tavern" of "divine wine drinkers". Those of us who have tasted the wine can truly find the scent of it in the renderings. The renderings inspire the dance of the soul!
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on November 16, 2000
If you love life, love love, or love God this book is for you! It has become a constant companion for me because Hafiz has expressed perfectly every emotion that I experience during the day. My own mantra is Manic Screaming:
We should make all spiritual talk
simple today:
God is trying to sell you something,
But you don't want to buy.
That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!
Two of many others that have brought me moments of complete clarity and comfort are: You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore (after the death of my crack addict friend), and We Should Talk About This Problem (when I felt distant from a loved one). That one begins with these words:
There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug.
Later in the poem there is this line:
I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you.
Whether the capitalizations matter to you or not, you'll appreciate this poem if you are one of the lovers mentioned above! This book is a treasure.
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on May 30, 2004
Life is fun, or should be, and meant to be lived in love is the message of these poems, those who don't think so are being deceived. Hafiz was a main influence on the third and final stage of Goethe's writing and ideas. When you find that one thing you better go after it with a passion like your hair is on fire. They also demonstrate the diversity of thought in the Persian influenced area of the world.

Of course something is lost in translation with most all poetry, one sees only a single frame of a changing kaleidoscope. There is a passion glimmered here that seems most intense.
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on March 29, 2004
When I started questioning my religion as a Christian, I started losing a lot of faith... then I came across this book.
The translations are incredible, the poetry is awesome, and I love the history and context section in the back of the book. I carry it with me whenever I travel, I read a poem every night. It's really wonderful, it makes it so that no matter how terrible my day was, it can end beautifully.
Buy it, it will change your life.
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on December 3, 2001
I do not mean to imply that the readers who enjoy Ladinsky's versions of "Hafez" lack intelligence. However, I think these so-called renderings of Hafez can easily be compared to the "_____ for Dummies" types of books on the market. Ladinsky is not a bad poet, but to attribute this poetry to Hafez really does a great disservice to the original--as well as to the readers who will never understand how simplistic Ladinsky's renditions are in comparison to the genius of the real Hafez.
I am an American who has studied Persian culture for the past twenty years. I have also studied the language (Farsi) off and on for 15 years. I have been to Iran, and have experienced the incredible beauty of recitations of Hafez' poetry, and have been moved to tears. I have visited Hafez' tomb in Shiraz, where I bought my first copy of the Divan-e Hafez in Farsi, with some of the qhazals translated to English.
Since my return, I have been painstakingly (and lovingly) reading Hafez' poetry, looking up the words I don't understand, asking friends questions about the multiple meanings and interpretations of his poems, falling asleep with the book beside me and awakening with its impression upon my skin.
Hafez is extremely complex, and truly impossible to translate adequately. It causes me great pain to see someone with virtually no knowledge of the original, write a few verses based on someone else's translations, change the structure and words into something completely unrecognizable as Hafez, call it a "translation," and make a profit in the process. Ladinsky would be much more honest if he published the book with himself as the author, who has been inspired by Hafez.
I agree with the earlier reviewer, Ali, who is saddened by the fact that so few in the West will ever begin to understand Hafez. Indeed, all of the reviewers of Ladinsky's work that have been critical have had a working knowledge of Farsi and exposure to Hafez in the original. The only positive reviews have been by those who cannot begin to comprehend what they're missing.
I would suggest that Ladinsky either put in the time and effort and learn Farsi well enough to truly grasp and convey Hafez' work, or label his work something other than a "translation." The road to truth and knowledge can be a long, arduous, but rewarding journey.
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on May 1, 2000
I recently read other reviews and found them over worded. I have a much simpler approach. If you would like to dance with God spend a few moments of your precious life with Hafiz's renderings. It's time well spent!
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on December 9, 1998
Such beauty! In this joyous book Hafiz appears to us as a beacon of pure light in contemporary garb. These deeply tender, witty, clear-eyed and fullest -hearted renditions have brightened my life. Hafiz can't help but true the course of our journey towards Love. Because for Hafiz, in fact, nothing else exists; for him, only Love is Real.
Hafiz has influenced and nourished a gracious many through the years. In the West, inspired notables include Goethe, Nietzsche, Byron, Hugo and Emerson. Emerson wrote of Hafiz in his journals, "He fears nothing. He sees too far; he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see and be." And Goethe exclaimed, "This is madness, I know well, Hafiz has no peer!"
I Heard God Laughing is a perfect gem of a book. Go ahead, take Hafiz home with you. Why-- he might even lead the way, dancing and singing all the while.
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