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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


A Year with Rumi
Daily Readings from His Poems
Jelaluddin Rumi, Coleman Barks
HarperSanFrancisco 11/06 Hardcover $19.95
ISBN: 006084597X

The spiritual poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) has enchanted, inspired, and delighted Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists alike for centuries. This Persian poet is currently enjoying new popularity in the English-speaking world, propelled largely by the fresh translations of Coleman Barks. This robust and uplifting collection delivers one poem for each day of the year, including 15 translations never previously published.

Rumi's spiritual vision is sensual, celebratory, and pensive. He identifies with nature and animals. He loves mysteries and is impatient with those who think they have answers. He praises the commonplace and spits upon fear. He is the poet par excellence on the importance of yearning in the spiritual life. He loves Allah and finds signs of his presence everywhere. Love and grace abound in his poems, providing us with ample food for our souls.

Reading Rumi is a wonderful way to bring in the dawn or go quietly into the night. Think of this collection as a spiritual companion that speaks to all your moods and moments — both dark and light. We predict that his Sufi mysticism will speak to the beat of blood in your veins, your most delirious aspirations, and your soulful essence that wants to love everybody. Just listen:

January 17
Love Moves Away

Pale sunlight,
pale the wall.

Love moves away
The light changes.

I need more grace
than I thought.

April 21
I, You, She, We

I, you, she, we.
In the garden of mystic lovers
these are not true distinctions.

December 23
Cry Easily

Keep your intelligence white-hot
and your grief glistening,
so your life will stay fresh.
Cry easily like a child.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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