This deliriously enchanting collection of 250 poems is one of the best books of 1999. Daniel Ladinsky has written these poems after being inspired by Hafiz (1320-1389), whom he describes as "one of the greatest spiritual friends, lovers, and guides that humankind has ever known." This Sufi master is considered to be the most beloved poet of Persia. Fans of Rumi will rejoice upon meeting another mystic who, as presented here through Ladinsky's poems, is so God-intoxicated that he is always looking for fresh ways to describe the inimitable love of the Holy One.

"We have not come here to take prisoners," goes one of Ladinsky's versions, "but to surrender ever more deeply to freedom and joy." The poet celebrates the divine in everyday life where God is a gift-giver: "Everything I have is also yours." There is a playful exuberance in this view of grace where images of dancing, partying, and having fun abound.

In "Your Mother and My Mother," the poet writes: "Fear is the cheapest room in the house. / I would like to see you living / In better conditions." Elsewhere he compares those who play the blame game or are always complaining as individuals "living in the suburbs of God." We were especially pleased to see the poet's affirmation of the spiritual practices of listening, kindness, devotion, and reverence. At one point, the poet says he is willing to share all his secrets about how to befriend God. That promise is fulfilled abundantly in this astonishing collection of spiritual poems!

(Please note. According to Muslim scholar Omid Safi, Persian language experts and Hafiz translators have not been able to find any direct connection between Ladinsky's poems and Hafiz poems, and Ladinsky does not cite the original sources of his versions. So it is best to attribute these poems to Ladinsky, not Hafiz. This correction, however, does not change our view that this is beautiful mystical poetry conveying great truth and inspiration.)