Books : On Rumi & Poetry

I personally love Rumi's work, I have two of his translated book : 
Rumi - the Book of Love translated by Coleman Barks


In my personal opinion, I like the classic Dover's version that was translated by Professor R.A.Nicholson - he died in August 1945 and left the manuscript of the book, and later the book was compiled by A.J.Arberry. Knowing he died without publishing his manuscript of research make the book much more personal to me. Imagine working on a book for years, those time spent to read, learn and translate all those works of Rumi. + I love academician & wise people.

The language used in the book is a bit tedious, but beautiful nonetheless. To make a comparison, if you have tried to learn Shakespeare before - you'll find no problem understanding it. Basic thing about reading English literature is knowing when to change classic words into modern words. Thou = you, doth = do, art = are, canst = can, thine = yours etc. 

The book was printed in the US, by an earth-friendly publication company, using waste recycled paper, and it only cost $3.50 USD = around RM 10 *bought the last book in Kinokuniya KL. But here is the online link - not sure whether they do international shipping to Malaysia. I personally recommend this book if you are eager to read beautiful translation even if it's classic.

Since thou canst not bear the unveiled Light, drink the Word of Wisdom, for its light is veiled.
To the end that thou mayst become able to receive the Light, and behold without veils that is not hidden,
And traverse the sky like a star; nay, journey unconditioned, without a sky.


The Coleman Barks' version is the one that commercially sold in most bookstores, he used modern language, simple and almost direct. I don't understand the original language that Rumi used, I know for sure that I shouldn't make this comparison. But knowing that translating thing is an art itself - one need to learn, to read, to understand the content and translate it using his own word, *which is the hardest part.

Coleman also wrote it in Haiku version. Some might love haiku, but not me :
Birdsong, wind,
the water's face. 
Each flower, remembering the smell :
I know you're close by.
And in the preface of the book, Coleman wrote :
I have sold too many books. Rumi translations have no business cresting in a wave of over half a million. It's like selling picnic tickets to an unmarked minefield. You wouldn't expect there to be a rush, but somehow there is. I may have left out something big and basic, like lowercase Islam (submission). This love poetry is meant to obliterate you lovers. Rumi wants us to surrender. I bow to the grandeur of his full protration. I never want to diminish that. 
As a reader, I love reading something beautiful and personal. I don't want to read something like : I have sold too many books, on the first page of a book. It destroys the whole point of sharing something so beautiful and it sounded like something a writer shouldn't boast about.

But this is a simpler version of Rumi's translation, a bit too simple - in my liking. It worked with my sister, it didn't worked with me.  


I also learned that I am very much interested in poems that touches something on spirituality and wisdom. It's all based on each reader's main interest. Usually in written poems - there is a difference between normal poems and poems that were touched by enlightenment *and this is also my own personal comparison and category that I created myself, it is not a fact or something to be fully accepted. 

On rare occasion, some writers got to 'listen' to something much more divine and will produce beautiful works that can touch people's soul. That's only on rare occasion. Rumi is one example. 

It is something that modern Westerner, or even Japanese and Chinese atheist's poets can't achieve. But even so, most Japanese haikus and Chinese poems focuses on wisdom or what they call teaching, and that's fairly interesting as well. But that's the whole different ideas on sociology. I think if I start to write on that, I'll take another several hours. 

I'll make a list of books that touches my soul and provoked my inner-thoughts later. 
I love my quest on searching for such books :F

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