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Hafiz, a secret Sufi, came to prominence in his day as a writer of love poems. That love transformed into
an all-consuming passion for union with the divine. In The Gift, Daniel Ladinsky bestows on us the impassioned yet
whimsical strains of Hafiz's ecstasy. Never forced or awkward, Ladinsky's Hafiz whispers in your ear and pounds in your
chest, naming God in a hundred metaphors.
I once asked a bird,
"How is it that you fly in this gravity
Me." Like Fitzgerald's version of Khayyam's Rubaiyat, the language of The Gift strikes a contemporary chord,
resonating in the reader's mind and then in the heart. Ladinsky's language is plain, fresh, playful--dancing with an
expert cadence that invites and surprises. If it is true, as Hafiz says, that a poet is someone who can pour light into
a cup, reading Ladinsky's Hafiz is like gulping down the sun. --Brian Bruya
From Booklist ( /gp/feature.html/?docId=1000027801 )
Less well known in the U.S. than his Sufi predecessor, Rumi, Hafiz (Shams-ud-din Muhammad) is also worthy
of attention, and Ladinsky's free translations should help see that he gets it. Hafiz is so beloved in Iran that he
outsells the Koran. Many know his verses by heart and recite them with gusto. And gusto is appropriate to this
passionate, earthy poet who melds mind, spirit, and body in each of his usually brief pensees. Ladinsky has deliberately
chosen a loose and colloquial tone for this collection, which might grate on the nerves of purists but makes Hafiz come
vividly alive for the average reader. "You carry / All the ingredients / To turn your life into a nightmare--/ Don't mix
them!" he advises, and "Bottom line: / Do not stop playing / These beautiful / Love / Games." Nothing is too human for
Hafiz to celebrate, for in humanity he finds the prospect of God. In everything from housework to lovemaking, he
celebrates the spiritual possibilities of life. A fine and stirring new presentation of one of the world's great poets.
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