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The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz (Compass) Paperback – January 28, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There are universes inside Hafiz, a lineage of masters. Daniel Ladinsky follows the playfulness; the rascal moves well."Coleman Barks

About the Author

Daniel Ladinsky is an acclaimed translator of mystical poetry. For six years, he made his home in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked and lived with the intimate disciples and family of Avatar Meher Baba. This is his fourth volume of Hafiz poetry in translation.
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Product Details

  • Series: Compass
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (January 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140196234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140196238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Wolterding on November 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
It is rare to find a book of poetry-or any book- that lifts the spirits and touches the heart as deeply as this one. Daniel Ladinsky's translations of the Sufi poet Hafiz are a unique blend of contempoary images and Persisan motifs that evoke scenes that readers will recognize in their own lives. Hafiz, Iran's most treasured poet, is known for an uncanny ability to speak directly to the reader's concerns.His poems have the ability to console the heart throbbing with longing or aching after a few hard knocks.I would especially recommend it for those bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder that afflict many of us this time of year. I carried this book around with me on the subway during an especially cold winter in New York City and it seemed to transmit a warm, tingly feeling, like a glass of good wine, that warded off the intrusion of depressing thoughts.

One poem in particuar was helpful which said;

Don't surrender your loneliness

So quickly

Let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you

As few human

Or even divine ingredients can

Something missing in my heart tonight

Has made my eyes so soft,

My voice

So tender,

My need of God

Absolutely

Clear.

Only a wise old master like Hafiz could give advice like that, in a few choise words that are the equilavent in confort to hours of professional counseling or several trips to the spa. His poetry gives us an appreciation of the wonderful gifts of the soul that we all possess, but rarely take the trouble to access. This book would be a wonderful gift for anyone and especially for youself!.
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Format: Paperback
Hafiz... each piece falls like rain,like buttery light,like a gentle knowing laugh and like quiet gems.. jeez... as a writer I am dumbfounded by his infallable heart and purely penetrative selection of the word.... I'd surely like to share my prayer mat with him when those days come to me....
do not pass go folks... read it by candle light or thrum of rain while your lover looks on... or the silent room embraces you... hafiz is a master.
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Format: Paperback
This was the 2nd collection of Daniel Ladinsky's translations of Hafiz that I read. As with "I Heard God Laughing," this one is gorgeous. Ladinsky translates Hafiz in a way that no one else manages to do, conveying his exuberance and outrageousness. What a place Hafiz can take you to, across time and culture, when he is translated as he deserves. This is another "must have" book.
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Format: Paperback
The wisdom of a disciple of a living Master rings through this awe-filled version of Hafiz. It's obvious that one who has experienced first hand the miracle of a Master/Disciple relationship can write such beauty. Is this Hafiz' experience or your own, Daniel? You have reminded those who seek the "highest love affair" of all...
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Format: Paperback
A lifelong fan (dare I say devoted?) to Hafiz and his many works, this book is a must have. Nothing compares to reading Hafiz in Persian, but this book comes very, very close. Hafiz is enlightening, spiritual, refreshing, and above all, very full of wisdom. His works are truly magical, especially considering after all these years, people are still compelled to his work and mystified by his writings. Classic.
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Hafiz is, together with Rumi, simply one of the greatest poets to have walked on this earth (in my opinion), and Ladinsky's translations bring them to English speakers in a way that we can easliy and deliciously assimilate. This book of enlightening poems will make your soul glow and shiver with delight, if only you let it...
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Format: Paperback
Translation is complicated in that the veracity of the work must be taken on faith if one does not know the original language. Thus good translators are careful to account for their approach to the craft and take seriously the need to educate their readership. This is especially the case with languages and traditions that are removed from European cultural experience and when translated for an English speaking public which is often monolingual.

Unfortunately, such is not the case with the several publications of Daniel Ladinsky that variously purport to be either translations or versions of the great and inimitable Hafez of Shiraz. Hafez is treasured by Persian speakers as the greatest poet of what is perhaps the world's greatest poetic tradition. To misrepresent him so blatantly, thoroughly and consistently over time as Ladinsky has done, is breathtaking. His work in "translation" does not represent the ghazal form, is not based on the Persian text and can not be referred to extant English translations and versions.

The ghazal in Persian commonly has anywhere from seven to fourteen couplets with an aa, ba, ca, da etc rhyme scheme. The poet "signs" his ghazal with a pen name. Each Persian line in English translation has, on average, about fourteen syllables. The following is my translation of a Hafezian ghazal to illustrate structure, rhyme and typical themes:

Ghazal #332, Khanlari

Although I seethe like a vat of wine from love's ferment,
I drink blood with sealed lips that keep me silent.

It is the soul's resolve to possess the beloved's lips;
Look at me, whose struggle with soul has left me spent!

How can I be free from heart's sorrow when each breath
The idol's black curl rings my ear with the slave's ornament.
Read more ›
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