Jalal al-Din RumiISBN: 0062509594;
No translator could do greater justice to the gorgeous simplicity of Rumi's poetry than Coleman Barks has done here. These exquisite renderings of the 13th-century Persian mystic's words into American free verse capture all the "inner searching, the delicacy, and simple groundedness" that characterize Rumi's poetry while remaining faithful to the images, tone, and spiritual message of the originals. Barks's introductions to each of the 27 sections (described as "playful palimpsests spread over Rumi's imagination," and "meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories") are themselves wonderful achievements of a poetic imagination; searching explanations of unfamiliar concepts and funny stories provide colorful background and frame the selections as no dry historical exegesis could. While Barks's stamp on this collection is clear, it in no way interferes with the poems themselves; Rumi's voice leaps off these pages with an ecstatic energy that...
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