click image to enlarge

The Soul of Rumi

A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems
By: ,
Contributor Role: 
Translated with commentary by
Contributor name: 
Contributor Role: 
By (author)
Contributor Sequence Number: 
Paperback Book
September, 2002
$21.99 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

While you are still yourself,

you’re blind to both worlds.

That ego-drunkenness will not

let you see. Only when you are

cleansed of both, will you cut

the deep roots of fear and anger.

Not since The Essential Rumi has such a shining, generous caravan of Rumi poems been published. These new translations and re-workings are from Coleman Barks, the man most responsible for making Rumi (a 13th-century Muslim mystic) the best-selling poet in
North America. As a poet and lover of the Mysteries, Barks works with the best existing translations from the original language, Farsi, as well as those from Turkish and Persian. And he mercifully releases Rumi’s fragrance from the earlier English translations by Nicholson and Arberry as well.

Included are a generous selection of ghazals, or couplets, from Rumi’s Divan, a treasure house of rubies only now beginning to appear in English; and a full version of the fourth book of the Masnavi, Rumi’s masterwork, his “Wild Soul Book.”

As Coleman says,

I feel the source of the power of Rumi’s spontaneous poetic derives from his continual balance of surrender and discipline, his visionary radiance held in the level calm of ordinary sight. Splendor and practice, meditation and chore, somewhere in the dynamic of those lies the vitality and validity, the knack of Mevlana.

Barks has arranged the ghazals into forty thematic clusters, such as:

Eye of Water: Clairvoyance, Being Several Places at Once, and the Rainpaths of Inspiration

Soul-Art: The Hungry Animal and the Connoisseur

The Mystery of Renunciation: A Way of Leaving the World That Nourishes the World

Gratitude for Masters: The Lesson of Dogs

The King’s Falcon on a Kitchen Shelf: How It Feels to Live Apart from Majesty

Human Grief: We Are Sent to Eat the World

Initiation: The Necessary Pain of Changing

Witness: Stay at the Flame’s Core

Garnet Red: In the Madhouse Gnawing on Chains

The Banquet: This is Enough was always true.

Here’s one poem from this fine book:


I was a thorn rushing to be with a rose,

vinegar blending with honey, a pot of

poison turning to healing salve, pasty

wine-dregs thrown in the millrace. I was

a diseased eye reaching for Jesus’ robe,

raw meat cooking in the fire. Then I found

some dirt to make an ointment that would

honor my soul, and in mixing that, I found

poetry. Love says, “You are right, but

don’t claim those changes. Remember, I

am wind. You are an ember I ignite.”

Among Coleman Barks’ other translations are Delicious Laughter, This Longing and the 2-tape set I Want Burning.

Publisher’s Description: 

The Soul of Rumi is renowned poet Coleman Barks' first major assemblage of newly translated Rumi poems since his bestselling < The Essential Rumi.

Coleman Barks presents entirely new translations of Rumi's poems, published for the first time in The Soul of Rumi. The poems range over the breadth of Rumi's themes: silence, emptiness, play, God, peace, grief, sexuality, music, to name just a few. But the focus is on the ecstatic experience of human and divine love and their inseparability, conveyed with Rumi's signature passion, daring, and insights into the human heart and the heart's longings.

This new collection from Rumi’s premier translator focuses on the ecstatic experience of human and divine love and their inseparability. Organized in 40 brief sections, the poems cover the breadth of Rumi’s themes: silence, emptiness, play, God, grief, sexuality, music, and more. Barks contributes a few introductory paragraphs to each section, a Preface that tells the story of his synchronistic meeting with the writings of Rumi, and an Introduction that tells Rumi’s own remarkable story. Now in paper.

Community Reviews

Login or Register to post a review