- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 28, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062509594
- ISBN-13: 978-0062509598
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (330 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition Paperback – May 28, 2004
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"If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, ColemanBarks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divinemadness in Rumi's poetry is truly remarkable." -- Huston Smith, author of "The World's Religions""In this.delightful treasury, Barks sparklingly demonstratesonce again why his free-form interpretations of [Rumi's] poetryhave been a major impetus for the current Rumi vogue."-- "Publishers Weekly""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"""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"
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Top Customer Reviews
volume of Rumi's poetry. As poetry on its own it stands head and shoulders above most poetry written in the English language. That is saying a lot as English has produced some magnificent works both historically and
contemporarily. Rumi can easily be compared to Shakespeare in quality although their subject matter was quite different. Shakespeare of course dealt with egoic human nature while Rumi is more concerned with the mystical Spirit of all things. For the uninitiated some of the symbolism may take a while to understand but I think anyone who is considering this volume would be acquainted with such symbols as a door or a window or even the capital "K" King, or Friend as compared to friend. Although Rumi is 13th century Muslim many of his references are to the transcendent figures of Christianity. Many Christians may never have thought of the symbolic relationship of Jesus and his donkey but Rumi explains it very succinctly. Christianity of course has its own areas of mystical thought but for the most part have been banned by the Church as heretical simply because they erase the necessity of intermediaries between man and God, ie. the power structure of the priesthood. Look to the Gnostic Writings of the early church to see how similar they are to mystical thinking universally. Some of the words uttered by Jesus
in the Gnostic Gospels might seem quite incomprehensible to our modern, indoctrinated minds. Of course in mystical thought, of which Rumi is a paramount figure, man's approach to God is direct. "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within" and " To know one's Self is to know God " are but two basic examples.
Over and above the mystical thinking exemplified in this volume, it is highly erotic and at times, perhaps mainly to the Western mind, down right hilarious. Imagine a cook's responses to the objections of the chickpea in being boiled in water. The cook's responses turn out to be quite reasonable in themselves, not to mention the spiritual understanding involved.
It is no wonder that Rumi is the most read poet in America today (by children of the '60's?) and it is said that Coleman Bark's translations are much of the reason. I can not comment on that as I have only begun to read the work of other translators and am yet unable to intelligently compare and contrast but I will say that the translations of Coleman Bark have enabled a deep chord to be struck within me by this writer and poet in 13th century Farsi.
I would highly recommend this volume to anyone exploring the Spiritual, as I would also recommend this volume to anyone who either loves poetry itself or thinks of poetry only as something to be taken or left. If you are one of the latter it may introduce you to a whole new view of literary expression. As with most all poetry it does demand time of contemplation to fully grasp its beauty and meaning. Rumi will always occupy of place of importance in my library, non-fiction of course.
Rumi's great ability as a teacher and storyteller is that he never seems to talk down to the listener. In fact, he writes as if the listener is on the same level and can ignite the identical inner spark that Rumi has through some kind of spontaneous combustion. Perhaps this is one of the essential messages he has to offer. But his words are not for the academic philistines who are more in love with the letter of the law of translation than its spirit and who lack the understanding and poetic sensibility to make Rumi's words leap off the page in the same way that Barks does.
I gave a copy of this book to a dear friend as a Christmas present at our favorite Italian restaurant and my friend was thrilled. We shared Rumi's poems at the dinner table and everyone within listening distance became enthralled, included the restaurant manager who treated our little dinner party to free coffee and desserts.
If you are new to Rumi I would suggest that you start here and fill out his academic background later. Most libraries also have the Barks' translations.
I'd also like to see a few hundred copies of Rumi circulated at our nation's capitol, since it's hard to imagine anyone there having read something even as basic and moral as "A Thousand and One Nights," either as a child or by their parents, to expand their perspective on the world as an adult - and unfortunately this contracted and limited view of life really really shows and the rest of us have to suffer for it... Free copies for everyone paid out of the military budget.
"Let the beauty you love, be what you do." - Rumi