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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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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