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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book with a good cross-section of Rumi's work
If one were to buy just one book with the poetry of Rumi, it is probably it. I has a good cross-section of humour, religious directed comment, and sage advice. One does not have to wade through tomes of Rumi to hit something of real interest as there is a gem on every page. Particularly like his comments on Jesus. Very funny indeed!
Type is easy to see and margins...
Published on Jan. 20 2012 by DB

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere for Rumi's essence.
This pretty book of verse calls well-deserved attention to Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th-century mystic considered by many to be one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen. But while author Coleman Barks's intentions may be the best, it's doubtful that what he serves up here is the essential Rumi, if only because Barks speaks not a word of Persian, the language in...
Published on Nov. 16 1999


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere for Rumi's essence., Nov. 16 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
This pretty book of verse calls well-deserved attention to Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th-century mystic considered by many to be one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen. But while author Coleman Barks's intentions may be the best, it's doubtful that what he serves up here is the essential Rumi, if only because Barks speaks not a word of Persian, the language in which Rumi wrote. Barks freely admits that he relied entirely on academic translations to concoct his popularized renderings. This would be less of a handicap were Rumi merely trying to entertain or to convey feelings, moods and subjective impressions. But as Barks himself points out, Rumi was a Sufi; and Sufis maintain that, far from being the emotional outpourings appearance might suggest, their poems are actually precise and carefully constructed technical instruments designed to have very specific effects on the reader under the right circumstances. These effects, which depend heavily upon the language in which the poems were written (not to mention the specific audience they were written for, which is another matter entirely), are easily blunted by translation and other forms of tampering. Barks - in translating translations - would seem to be carrying this tampering a step further, despite his skill as a wordsmith. The result, however aesthetically pleasing and emotionally evocative, is unlikely to be what Rumi had in mind - any more than the miming of a surgeon's hand-movements, however gracefully executed, is likely to heal the sick. Those interested in Rumi's essential - and still relevant - message would do better to read THE SUFIS by Idries Shah, THE LIFE & WORK OF JALALUDDIN RUMI by Afzal Iqbal, or E.H. Whinfield's TEACHINGS OF RUMI.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book with a good cross-section of Rumi's work, Jan. 20 2012
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This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
If one were to buy just one book with the poetry of Rumi, it is probably it. I has a good cross-section of humour, religious directed comment, and sage advice. One does not have to wade through tomes of Rumi to hit something of real interest as there is a gem on every page. Particularly like his comments on Jesus. Very funny indeed!
Type is easy to see and margins such that one can make notes. An easy read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditation in Book Form, Dec 26 2002
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This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
One does not read this book lightly. Reading the words of Rumi is like meditation in the form of a book. Beautiful, capable of multiple meanings depending on your need, but also of those intended. Essential for anyone interested in poetry or philosophy, God or love, and all of the above.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Hipster read, May 13 2014
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This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
It's refreshing to see that people really have not changed much emotionally over the past millennium. Rumi's poems is able to express the struggles of life so eloquently. Such a good read for anybody wanting to try anything new or whoever is into poems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Enlightenment, June 7 2003
By 
FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.
This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.
'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'
Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.
'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'
From the lofty sentiments...
'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?'
...to the simple observations...
'Drunks fear the police,
but the police are drunks too.
People in this town love them both
like different chess pieces.'
Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.
In the middle of the night
I cried out,
"Who lives in this love
I have?"
You said, "I do, but I'm not here
alone. Why are these other images
with me?"
Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)
Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.
In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.
There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential part of the dilettante's library, April 26 2003
By 
L. Masco (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
"Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
There is a field.
I will meet you there."
I have bought no fewer than ten copies of this book, for friends and family. I was lucky to find them remainder at the local book megamart, but I would gladly pay full price.
This book made Rumi my favorite poet. Rumi is habit forming, but this is by far the most accessible place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep going back, March 14 2003
By 
C. HACKMAN "chackman" (Iowa, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
This is one of those books I keep handy, and just open randomly whenever I need a quick reminder that the world runs deeper than we think. It never fails to pull me from the shallow waters... When I want to go.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry, but not well arranged, Feb. 2 2003
By 
JuJuBee (Somewhere, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
I do not understand how Barks organized these poems. They're amazing, every last one but the order that they're in is quite confusing. Nonetheless it should be read by everyone, whether a poetry lover or not. Also, check out the recipes in the back of the book! As the name states, it is ESSENTIAL!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American Rumi, April 2 2002
This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
This book may well become an American classic of poetry someday. It is by far the best English collection of Rumi's poetry, done by his most able translator.
Although Rumi's poetry -- as with most poetry -- is at core untranslatable, Barks has done a fine job in rendering older technical translations of the Maulana into poetic English. What one encounters here is not just Rumi, but Rumi filtered through Barks. If you object to that go learn Persian because no translation will be able to capture the subtle nuances conveyed through the original language.
Barks should be commended in showing us another face of Islam, and revealing, in the process, the timeless, universal and transreligious teachings of one of Islam's greatest saints.
For fans of Rumi/Barks, I suggest Winkel's new book: Damascus Steel. Its a work of fiction exploring contemporary political themes through sufi lenses, and was written before (!) September 11th.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taste that spiritual wine, April 25 2001
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This review is from: The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition (Paperback)
Full of intoxication of God. A beautiful book for those on the spiritual journey.
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The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition
The Essential Rumi - Reissue: New Expanded Edition by Coleman Barks (Paperback - Jan. 16 1997)
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