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Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and…

Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

by Rumi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This one is my favourite... It touches me very deeply, love this selection of Coleman Burks, love Rumi and yes, this is the Book of Love... The authentic love, pure love, love beyond the barriers we have built against it... ( )
  ivinela | Dec 10, 2013 |
The problem with translations is that one never knows how much of what one is reading is the translator’s voice, and how much is the original artist’s voice.

Banks is credited with “popularising” Rumi’s works in America. That’s the essence of the difficulty I had with this translation. To “translate” a work, one “expresses the sense of (a word, book etc) in another language”, while to “popularise” a work is to “present a specialised subject in a popular or readily understandable form”.

In his note on the translation, Banks admits that in “translating Rumi into American” he may have distorted what Rumi searched for in his poems: the ecstasy of Divine Love.

Having watched both live and DVD performances of the Whirling Dervishes (a spiritual meditative dance based on the teachings of Rumi), I approached this volume with the expectation of experiencing that same sense of immersion in – or union with – the Divine beloved. Instead, I was left with a weird sense of dislocation.

While Banks’ intentions in attempting this translation were clearly a sincere attempt to express the ecstasy he has found in Rumi’s original words, this reader was unable to share in that lyrical ecstasy.

Contemporary images celebrated sexual union, but not ecstatic union. While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating sex, Rumi celebrates sex in the same way that Kabbalists would on a Sabbath: as a ‘tikkun’. In this translation, the idea of “sex as Divine union with the Other” was lost in modern crudity. For example, “Is this the way a man prays, with his balls? Does your penis long for union like this? Is that why her legs are so covered with this stuff?” [Pg 85] Stuff? Stuff?

The modern language, too, was conveyed without any mystical rhythm. In musical terms this would be the steady cadence of a liturgical chant (the exquisite sound of the Gregorian or Benedictine chants). In seeking to convey the lightness of the mystical trance in simple, modern (popular!) terms, the language in this translation became heavy and, with a few notable exceptions, left me sadly earthbound. ( )
  JudyCroome | Aug 28, 2011 |
I have been dipping into this volume of Rumi’s more obscure love poetry at night in the quiet moments before I turned out the light. This volume was an anniversary present from my wife back in April. I decided to finish it tonight.

These poems are exquisite, profound, simple, lovely, enchanting, mysterious, warm, and full of surprises. I could probably list another dozen adjectives if I thought long and hard enough!

Barks has written 22 short essays or meditations on different aspects of love and then provided anywhere from 6 to 14 poems to illustrate the points. My favorite was Chapter Five, “Escaping into Silence.” He challenges the reader to “try a day of silence with someone. Just one day!” (32). One of the poems he uses here, “The Waterwheel,” is also one of my favorites.

“Stay together friends.
Don’t scatter and sleep.

Our friendship is made
of being awake.

The waterwheel accepts water
and turns and gives it away,

That way it stays in the garden,
whereas another roundness rolls
through a dry riverbed looking
for what it thinks it wants.

Stay here, quivering with each moment
like a drop of mercury.

This marriage be wine with halvah,
honey dissolving in milk.

This marriage be the leaves and fruit
of a date tree. This marriage

be women laughing together for days
on end. This marriage a sign

for us to study. This marriage
beauty. This marriage, a moon

in a light blue sky. This marriage,
this silence, fully mixed with spirit.”

On Saturday, January 3rd, we are going to try and go as long as we can without making any sounds. We will turn off all our phones, no TV or radio, no micro wave, no timers or drawers opening – just pure and complete silence as long as we can.

If you think you are in love, Rumi will confirm it. If you are not in love, Rumi will confirm it. If you want to know and understand love, Rumi is the vehicle, the candle, the gentle breeze that will lead you to understanding.

Here is one more poem from Chapter Four, “Sudden Wholeness” (30).

“A thousand half loves
must be forsaken to take
one whole heart home.”

--Chiron, 12/30/08 ( )
  rmckeown | Dec 30, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rumiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barks, ColemanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barks, ColemanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060750502, Roughcut)

Now in paperback, this is the definitive collection of America′s bestselling poet Rumi′s finest poems of love and lovers. In Coleman Barks′ delightful and wise renderings, these poems will open your heart and soul to the lover inside and out.

′There are lovers content with longing.

I′m not one of them.′

Rumi is best known for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries of love of all kinds - erotic, divine, friendship -and Coleman Barks collects here the best of those poems, ranging from the ′wholeness′ one experiences with a true lover, to the grief of a lover′s loss, and all the states in between: from the madness of sudden love to the shifting of a romance to deep friendship - these poems cover all ′the magnificent regions of the heart′.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From the Publisher: The Sufi mystic and poet Jalaluddin Rumi is most beloved for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries of love in all its forms-erotic, platonic, divine-and Coleman Barks presents the best of them in this delightful and inspiring collection. Rendered with freshness, intensity, and beauty as Barks alone can do, these startling and rich poems range from the "wholeness" one experiences with a true lover, to the grief of a lover's loss, and all the states in between: from the madness of sudden love to the shifting of a romance to deep friendship to the immersion in divine love. Rumi, the ultimate poet of love, explores all "the magnificent regions of the heart," and he opens you to the lover within. Coleman Barks has made this medieval, Persian-born (present-day Afghanistan) poetic and spiritual genius the most popular poet in America today. This seductive volume reveals Rumi's charms and depths more than any other.… (more)

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