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Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 7, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Sufi mystic Rumi has sold more than half a million volumes of his poetry-no small feat, considering that he lived in the 13th century. In this collection, poet Coleman Barks offers a funny, iconoclastic preface in which he attempts to tease out the reasons for Rumi's contemporary renaissance. He also warns readers that what follows will not be a pretty, happy book of love poetry: "This is not Norman Vincent Peale urging cheerfulness, conventional morality, and soft-focus, white-light, feel-good...New Age tantric energy exchange. This is giving your life to the one within that you know as LORD, which is a totally private matter." Rumi, he writes, is not the stuff of greeting cards. The poetry, accessibly translated and arranged by Barks, is organized by loose themes such as love's discipline, the new life with the beloved, "sudden wholeness," and love's excess.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Coleman Barks begins the preface of his gazillionth book of Rumi translations by saying, "I have sold too many books." Maybe so, but he hasn't tired of translating and retranslating Rumi. And people never seem to tire of reading the great Sufi mystic. Here, Barks delves into Rumi's take on love, retranslating dozens of poems he first adapted for The Essential Rumi (1995) and offering a few new translations. Rumi's love was, of course, about a great deal more than romance. Seeking annihilation in the Divine, Rumi basked in many forms of divine love, from his passionate (and, some argue, homoerotic) love for his teacher Shams to a reverence for the natural world. Barks has been criticized for basing his reworkings of Rumi on English translations instead of the original texts, but the two poets together are clearly a magical combination. Rumi's copious metaphorical expressions of love and the importance of unifying with it make wonderful reading. If Barks' versions are fast and loose, they are also, like Rumi himself, beautiful and accessible. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060523166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060523169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bronson on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rumi needs no praise from me and Barks' translation is beautiful, mysterious, and urgent. I find his introductions to the many sections especially moving. My only problem is that I ordered the book after I bought Barks' "The Essential Rumi," which changed me. This book has many overlaps. I'd have preferred to see more original translations, but as a first introduction, you can do no better.
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Format: Paperback
How can I put into words the absolute wordless dimension this collection of poems creates within me?

The commentaries and introduction sections by Coleman Barks are valuable as well beyond words.

The reader would gain insights simply by picking it up and thumbing to any page and just read, read! My daughter and I tried this, we would bring up topics and then say "And what does Rumi say?" and I would read whatever the first words were that I saw in front of me.

They were always universally fitting.

I loved it, just like I love this book.

Wordless, speechless, love-filled - inspired.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not exactly sure how to critique poetry; however, I think that Rumi is great! Yes, I just used and exclamation mark. No, I do not use said punctuation often. That is how good Rumi is.

Rumi was a Persian Sufi who wrote incredibly deep poems regarding spirituality, faith, religion, and love. The most surprising thing I found among his poetry was his use of individual lines within whole poems. For example, look at his poem:

Think that you're gliding out from the face of a cliff
like an eagle. Think you're walking
like a tiger walks by himself in the forest.
You're most handsome when you're after food.

Now, rewrite the second line, so that it looks like this:

Like an eagle, think you're walking.

In this phrase, Rumi captures the beauty and the mystery of the eagle in flight. The eagle does not think it is flying, as in it does not think it is doing anything extraordinary. It is simply moving in time and space in the easiest and most fluid manner it knows how. For humans, we walk. This is the beauty of it; this is the beauty of the New Testament story regarding walking on water. Jesus tells his Peter not to think about the water, just walk; just be.

Rumi fills page after page with beautiful and simple ideas of love and of just letting go of everything that holds us back. However, I will let Rumi argue for himself and leave here two of my favorites:

THE ALLURE OF LOVE
Someone who does not run
toward the allure of love walks
a road where nothing lives.
But this dove here senses
the love-hawk floating above
and waits and will not be driven
or scared to safety.

UNTITLED
No better love than love with no object,
no more satisfying work than work with no purpose.
If you could give up tricks and cleverness,
that would be the cleverest trick!

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Didn't much like "poetry" before this. In fact this is the first book of 'poetry' i've not pelted into the bin.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm a reader...oh yes. I have (no doubt like you) walls of books, all ordered by how much I ADORED them. And no book ever into the bin - sacrilege! Except poetry. Why? "Oh poetry is just such grandiose swashbuckling twaddle!"

Well who knows what I read or if it really was grandi-gross. What I do know is that I LOVE RUMI. AND I LOVE COLEMAN BARKS (now I know who the hell they both are).

I've started a new little book shelf. It's called HIGH VIBRATORY. It ONLY for books that are INSPIRED (of such outstanding beauty that its inarguable that pure-positive-non-physical-source energy played a role in their emergence). These books are those that I'm going back to, over and over, because of the sheer joy and exhilaration that's swell in my heart as I read them. Rumi The Book Of Love sits prominently on this fabulous new shelf.

Go on, buy it, devour it. I defy anyone not to want to marry this book. Or at least position it on a High Vibratory shelf...
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By A Customer on February 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This collection of Rumi's poetry moved me like none of his other work. I have already given copies away several times over. You wont regret it!
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By k2 on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This has been my favorite book for years - it can transport the reader straight into the world of soul. rumi is the best and i love these translations. perfect, definately worth having even for people who are not-so-much-into poetry
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Format: Hardcover
Having read Rumi gave me the sensation of being enveloped and rocked by all of existence. The discovery of the Self, the recovery of wholeness whithin a " great whole". When we were born, we were torn from wholeness; in love we have all felt ourselvess returning to original wholeness. That is why his poems create images that have the ability transform us. After reading some of his poems, I was able to reach a sense of reconciliation with the totality of the world; perhaps even with our past, present, and future . We are the theater of embrace of opposites, and the only way to resolve this is through acceptance.It seems important to me that a more whole, and therefore more human form of expression, like his poetry, should become visible in our time. His poetry, is a glimmer of hope, simbolized for me by his infinite wisdom and divine knowledge of "the One" who dwells whithin him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the Earth and vast as the sky.
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