Born Jalaluddin Mohammad Balki in Persia in 1207, the poet known as Rumi (named after the city where he lived) composed works of mysticism and desire that inspired countless people in his own time and throughout the centuries. He led a relatively conventional life until, at about the age of thirty-seven, he met the wandering Sufi dervish and mystic Shams of Tabriz, and a fast friendship took shape. From his relationship with Shams, Rumi's teachings and poetry were changed forever. Rumi died in 1273. Though he is revered and respected in the East, today -- through the translation of his work into English -- his poems and teachings have found a new and receptive audience in the West.
The magnificence of Rumi's poetry has heartened the faith of people worldwide for more than seven hundred years, and William Guion's spiritual photographs of oak trees are a perfect visual complement.