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Persian Poets (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) Hardcover – November 14, 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Middle Ages saw an extraordinary flowering of Persian poetry. Though translations began appearing in Europe in the nineteenth century, these remarkable poets--Omar Khayyam, Rumi, Saadi, Sanai, Attar, Hafiz, and Jami--are still being discovered in the West.
The great medieval Persian poets owe much to the mystical Sufi tradition within Islam, which understands life as a journey in search of enlightenment, and, like their European contemporaries, they combine religious and secular themes. While celebrating the beauty of the world in poems about love, wine, and poetry itself, or telling humorous anecdotes of everyday life, they use these subjects to symbolize deeper concerns with wisdom, mortality, salvation, and the quest for God.

About the Author

Peter Washington is the editor of many of the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets, including Love Poems, and is the author of Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America.
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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (November 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375411267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375411267
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.7 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alexander on November 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Several of the "translations" of Persian poetry included in this book are not translations at all. They are written by Coleman Barks, a well-known fraud who does not know Persian at all, and in fact does not even claim to know Persian. Therefore, whenever a poem appears in this volume with his name given as translator, the reader should be aware that what they are reading is not in fact a translation of the poetry of the Persian poet Hafez, for example, but an original poem written by the American poet Coleman Barks. This is not indicated anywhere in the book, and it is quite misleading to call these poems "translations"! Frankly, as someone who reads Persian and has enjoyed these wonderful poets in the original, I can say definitively that Barks is nowhere near comparable with them and does not deserve inclusion in this volume.

I will say that many of the other translators whose translations are included here, like Gertrude Bell, E.G. Browne, or Edward Fitzgerald, actually did know Persian very well and their capable and authentic translations reflect that. However, those translations are mostly from the 19th and early 20th century and sometimes feel antiquated. For more recent translations of classical Persian poetry done by real experts, I recommend translations done by Dick Davis or Jawid Mojaddedi, which can easily be found on Amazon.
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By Leitz on April 15, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a favourite on my poetry shelf. The introduction is helpful in appreciating the history and character of Persian poetry over the ages. The selection of poems also gives an insight to the spirit of Sufism. It is a dynamic translation which conveys a sense of rhythm and flow which I personally like.
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Format: Hardcover
Persian Poetry has come onto the popular scene recently with interest in Rumi and his mystical/love poems. However, those interested might also be interested in the tradition of such poetry that Rumi comes out of. Actually Rumi is considered as only one of the four great mystical poets in Persia (and not necessarily the best of them).
Washington's selection is an intelligent one, and the poems are on the whole good translations. Often such collections are a mixed bag, but in this case a good job was done. Since there are really no alternatives to a collection of Persian poetry in translation in print at the moment, this volume is recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A little counter-intuitive, perhaps in this era of conflict between the West and Asia Minor; but if one can read this poetry in the spirit of exploration, the appreciation of another culture from before the days of Shakespeare, there is much to relish in this slim volume.

The mindset of the writers of these gems is clearly different from our own, and that brings an interesting take on daily life.
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