A vibrant selection of poems by the great Persian mystic with groundbreaking translations by an American poet of Persian descent.
Rumi’s poems were meant to induce a sense of ecstatic illumination and liberation in his audience, bringing its members to a condition of serenity, compassion, and oneness with the divine. They remain masterpieces of world literature to which readers in many languages continually return for inspiration and succor, as wellas aesthetic delight. This new translation by Haleh Liza Gafori preserves the intelligence and the drama of the poems, which are as full of individual character as they are of visionary wisdom.
Marilyn Hacker praises Gafori’s new translations of Rumi as “the work of someone who is at once an acute and enamored reader of the original Farsi text, a dedicated miner of context and backstory, and, best of all, a marvelous poet in English.”“Haleh Liza Gafori’s new translations of Rumi are the work of someone who is at once an acute and enamored reader of the original Farsi text, a dedicated miner of context and backstory, and, best of all, a marvelous poet in English.”
- Marilyn Hacker, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets 2008-2014, author of Winter Numbers
“Haleh Liza Gafori’s Gold is everything Rumi was himself—sacred, profane, laugh out loud funny, deeply earnest, demotic, and yes, Persian. There’s a rich fluency here not just in idiom but in gesture, in spirit. It’s uncanny to encounter eight-hundred-year-old verse this urgent: “Misers rule. Generosity fades from memory. Still, your eyes see. Your heart is full.” Gafori’s Rumi teaches me how to wander into mystery — “humble as soil”—without galloping toward some hasty and inorganic conclusion: “A barren moon shines. A sour world smiles. What do I know but the light shining down?” What a gift this is, what gold.”
- Kaveh Akbar, Poetry editor at The Nation, Author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf and Pilgrim Bell)
“Haleh Liza Gafori’s energetic translation highlights the timelessness of Rumi’s work, delivering unforgettable phrases. Rumi’s introspective nature…cosmic vision…and deeply contemplative yet accessible poems star in this worthy translation.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Haleh Liza Gatori’s ecstatic and piercing translation has lifted a veil, bringing Rumi closer into the quick of our present. Each poem is a divine invitation. Free your mind. Drown in love.”
- V (formerly Eve Ensler), author of The Vagina Monologues and The Apology
“Rumi’s beautiful melding of wildness, insight and untrammeled joy has found a true, unerring voice in Haleh Liza Gafori, whose own fine abilities as a poet bring these hallowed Persian, poetic gifts anew into 21st century English.”
- David Whyte, author of The Three Marriages and Consolations
“I have been longing for these translations of Rumi’s poems my whole life. Haleh Liza Gafori has taken Rumi’s original Farsi text and unleashed its fire. My soul soars reading each one. Sublime, clean, crisp, deep, luxurious, funny, soft, and kind, these translations are a great and graceful gift.”
- Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open and Cassandra Speaks
“These are the Rumi translations we’ve been waiting for! In Gold, translated by Persian-American poet/singer Haleh Liza Gafori, meanings and images hurtle us towards love and ecstasy, just as Rumi intended. You won’t read these words so much as dance with them. Hang on tight as they begin whirling. Unbuckle your seat belt as they take flight. Pure Gold!”
- Bob Holman, author of The UnSpoken and Life Poem
"In clear, shimmering language, neither simplified nor obscurantist, Gafori renders the ecstatic core of Rumi's vision in an American idiom that both honors the Islamic background of the poems and insists that what we mean by "surrender" cannot be delimited by any psychology or religious tradition.
- Leonard Schwartz, author of The New Babel: Towards a Poetics of the Mid-East Crises