Songs of Soul-Meeting
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The Glance ($18.00; Oct.; 112 pp.; 0-670-88755-2): A new translation of a cycle of ancient poems written by the great 13th- century Sufi scholar. Rumi is most widely known in the West for his love poetry, which has enjoyed a tremendous popular revival in the last few years. Here, he works within the framework of the ghazal, a Persian poem closest in form to the English sonnet, and attempts to convey some sense of the wonder he felt at his friendship with Shams of Tabriz, an itinerant dervish he met in 1244. Almost at first sight, an intense bond sprang up between the two, each acknowledging the other as soulmate and guide, in the tradition of Dante and Beatrice. Their relations centered in the spiritual life, with Tabriz introducing Rumi to ecstatic dancing and meditations of the dervishes, though Rumi described the friendship in almost erotic terms——I see my beauty in you. I become / a mirror that cannot close its eyes / to your longing...——that convey the intensity of his feeling. Barks’s translation is fluid and clear, further strengthening his reputation as one of the foremost Rumi experts writing in English today. (Viking also plans to offer a CD version in October that will feature “12 of Rumi’s poems enhanced with music.—)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-670-88755-2
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999