This is a truly wonderful collection of the spiritual poetry of the great Persian poet Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273). American poet Coleman Barks, working with translations from the Persian by John Moyne, A. J. Arberry, and Reynold Nicholson, gives us Rumi's startling images and ecstatic outpourings with a contemporary cadence and import.

For seven centuries, Rumi's poetry and teaching stories have enchanted, inspired, and enlightened Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists alike. His output is impressive — he composed 3500 odes, 2000 quatrains, and an epic six-volume poem titled Mathnawi. In this watershed work, Coleman Barks presents the best of his translations collected from over a decade of focussing on the poet's work. He puts this diverse material under 27 headings and offers brief meditations on such recurring motifs as the tavern, emptiness and silence, feeling separation, being a lover, union, and much more.

Rumi's spiritual largess is awesome — everything is taken into his embrace. The poetry is sensual, celebratory, and pensive; the teaching stories are humorous, down-to-earth, and profound. Throughout, Rumi's intoxicating love of God comes across as central. He is a doctor of soul for our time, helping us cultivate heart, passion, and personal transformation. The Essential Rumi is a rare and precious book that will stir the hearts of Rumi devotees and win many new converts.