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The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition Paperback – May 28, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062509594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062509598
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi's poetry is truly remarkable." -- Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

"Perhaps the world's greatest spiritual poet--the gold of Rumipours down through Coleman's words. The words leap off thepage and dance!" -- -- Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"Perhaps the world's greatest spiritual poet--the gold of Rumi pours down through Coleman's words. The words leap off the page and dance!" -- Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"The Essential Rumi is a rare and precious book that will stir the hearts of Rumi devotees and win many new converts." -- Body Mind Spirit

From the Back Cover

The best-selling Rumi book ever is now better than ever! This revised and expanded edition of the comprehensive one-volume edition of America′s most popular poet includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks, and 57 new poems never published before.

The ecstatic, spiritual poetry of Rumi is more popular than ever, and The Essential Rumi continues to be far and away the top-selling title of all Rumi books. With the addition of many new poems and a new introduction, The Essential Rumi is now clearly the definitive, and most delightful selection of Rumi′s poetry.


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Customer Reviews

Especially those in love with the beauty of words.
jln
Rumi is my all-time favorite poet, at least in Coleman Barks translations.
Jim Morris
I love this book and keep reading and re-reading it.
suziQsedona

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

290 of 306 people found the following review helpful By taijiredlion on September 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This review was originally written as a response to a one-star Spotlight Review entitled "Look elsewhere for Rumi's essence", which criticized Barks' versions of Rumi as inauthentic because they are not precisely literal; that negative review has since been removed. But what I said then still goes: Don't let the negative reviews drive you away from a great read. This book captures Rumi's essence like no other. And despite what the critics think, Coleman Barks is very well qualified to bring Rumi to a modern English audience. Consider these four points:

1) First, and most important, Barks loves Rumi; he loves Rumi's poetry; he loves that Presence Rumi's poetry celebrates and explores. In the original criticism, the reviewer implied Sufi poetry employs some kind of mantric magic when he said that "their poems are actually precise and carefully constructed technical instruments designed to have very specific effects on the reader under the right circumstances." Please. Rumi himself makes plain throughout his works that the point of his poetry - and of Sufism - is not technique. The point is love: "Rub your eyes, and look again at love, with love." Rumi would have been the last person in the world to insist on strict adherence to technique, or compulsive literal translation. He was about soul, and transformation, and he said over and over again that the only real magic was love. That's the real essence of Rumi. And maybe Barks has been able to translate Rumi's poetry so effectively because he's coming from the heart and the soul, and not just the head.

2) Second, Barks is a well-known American poet in his own right, a retired professor of English at Georgia University. He's studied the life and work of Rumi intensively for over thirty years.
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285 of 308 people found the following review helpful By E. hosseini on December 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a Persian I felt I can write some illuminating remarks here. I came to this verse from Mowlanaa Rumi in this book: "Let the beauty of what you do be what you love" and I looked a lot for the original poetry. It seems to be sth like this originally:

Today we are drunken(=in love) like everyday
Dont start worrying and start playing instead
For whom the beloved's (God's) face is prayer-niche
There are a hundred ways of prayer. (seeing God's face in everything...Everything is one.)

and Barks' translation:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a
musical instrument
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

you see they are quite different and the traslation seems to be distorted.
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191 of 208 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
At the risk of cliche, if you only buy a single
book this year, please do yourself a favor and
make it "The Essential Rumi." Rumi is for
Americans who think that Islam is all about harems
and terrorists. A sultry serenade to God, Rumi's
poetry explodes in the soul with a beautiful force
that tears down the wall between the individual
and the Divine. Jelaluddin Rumi was a 13th
Century Sufi mystic, the founder of the so-called
"whirling dervishes", whose inner exploration
allowed him to attain a rare level of enlightenment
and connection with God. His poems resonate with
truth and wisdom so earnest that it is impossible
not to be swept away on a tide of pure spiritual
longing and fulfillment. This is a book for
anyone who loves poetry, religion, God, or love.
And if you don't love these things now, you will
by the time you finish "The Essential Rumi."
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79 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Heller on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have to say I agree with some of the other reviews here, that this collection of poetry by "Rumi" is in reality modern American poetry by someone drawing only very loosely on Rumi's work. It is rather a stretch to call it a translation! If one were cynical, one might think the large number of books from this "translator" indicates merely a money-making exercise.

Much better collections/translations can be found, like Maryam Mafi's and Azima Melita Kolin's, but I would personally recommend Juliet Mabey's Rumi: A Spiritual Treasury. This is not only a gorgeous book to look at, but more importantly, both its selection and English rendition demonstrate a deftness of touch that make you think you are reading something very close to the original sentiment. A rare achievement.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully put together book of interpretations of translations of some of Rumi's work, though I do think other scholars, Nicholson comes to mind, have gotten much closer to the essence of Rumi. Nicholson doesn't water Rumi down; often, very often, Rumi's work was incredibly rambling, and extremely hard to follow--but delightful and compelling nonetheless. Though I do immensly enjoy Barks' work, he makes Rumi too tidy, and much of Rumi's brilliant essence and expansive mind is missed.
I recently stumbled across an absolutely engaging biography of Rumi, and which is a popular, short form account. Why the heck did it take so long for this? is anybody's guess. There is one other very good biography out there by a scholar named Iqbal, but even this is still too academic. This new book, Rumi: A Spiritual Biography by Leslie Wines though is a vigorous and ambitious little book and I think a must read for all those with a real love for this most incredible man and poet.
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