John of the Cross is, for me, quite simply the crucial Christian contemplative; his dark night spirituality is still the absolute state of the art for anyone beyond the feel-good phase of a life of prayer. My copy of the excellent Cavanaugh-Rodriquez translation of John's collected works (which is the definitive scholarly translation, in my opinion, not the Peers version) is so well-thumbed it has to be be held together by tape. But I've always hesitated to recommend the works of John of the Cross even to people I am sure would benefit by his wisdom, because his writing is extremely difficult, a somewhat windy, dry, and arcane 16th-century style, dense with scriptural allusion and theological citation, repetitive, and, in several cases, literally unfinished. Mirabai Starr is clearly the gifted editor John has been waiting for. Her poet's ear and mystic's heart are just what was needed to bring the depth, lucidity, and loving essence of John's most famous work into a form that is accessible at last to a wider range of contemporary seekers. Her translation of "The Dark Night," and her beautiful and wise introduction, are exquisitely lucid. The language is fresh, the pacing crisp, and even the most difficult passages are made clear and musical, capturing both the joy and the genuine, sometimes terrifying challenge of the soul's journey into the deepest mysteries of God, into what T.S. Eliot, another Christian mystic who could sometimes use a translator, called "a condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything." Mirabai has shown us both the simplcity, and the absolute cost, of the deepest spirituality, in this gorgeous gift of a book, this labor of love, which seems to me to be destined to become a classic.