Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, is treasured for his elegant writings on love, beauty, acceptance and devotion. Famous in his own lifetime, he is the author of Mathnawi, nicknamed “the Persian Koran”—still one of the most widely read poems in the Muslim world. Rumi began composing poetry in midlife, after he met Shams al-Din Tabrizi and became Shams’ disciple and intimate friend; the two were rarely apart. When Shams disappeared, Rumi, heart-broken, devoted the rest of his life to writing and worship. In contemporary times Rumi has been widely translated by scholars, as well as by contemporary poets. Coleman Barks’s popular, playful work, The Soul of Rumi, and Daniel Ladinsky’s musical, intimate The Purity of Desire: 100 poems of Rumi, have helped to fuel the ancient poet’s phenomenal popularity with modern readers.


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