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Paperback Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West Book

ISBN: 0142196126

ISBN13: 9780142196120

Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

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Book Overview

Sacred poetry from twelve mystics and saints, rendered brilliantly by Daniel Ladinsky, beloved interpreter of verses by the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz

In this luminous collection, Daniel Ladinsky--best known for his bestselling interpretations of the great Sufi poet Hafiz--brings together the timeless work of twelve of the world's finest spiritual writers, six from the East and six from the West. Once again,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Beauty Lives Inside This Book

There's nothing I could add to Rebecca Johnson's wonderful review below. I would however like to comment on the review by M. J. Smith (Seattle, WA USA) which gave this volume one star. His argument that Daniel Ladinsky has done a disservice to readers by tailoring the translations is flawed. A literal translation is of value to scholors and historians, but not seekers of the heart. For those who are seeking god in ernest, you can trust Mr. Ladinksy to deliver the very soul of the poet he's translating to the front door of your heart. Would Hafiz trust Rumi to translate his works, would St. Francis trust Meister Eckhart to translate his? Yes, and there are people living today who have this same authority...Daniel Ladinsky is one of those people. Let the worriers worry about hair-splitting and direct translations...and let the lovers revel in these beautiful illumined poems.

Only our ecstasies offer any real clues about Him

I am just barely half-way thru the book but oh! the thrills and frizzons these poems have wrought in me. As I read them I am often smiling like a fool, if not laughing out loud like a madman. In these times when the name of God is blasphemed by the very ones who claim to speak for him, it is so liberating to discover these poems by His lovers. In the intro Daniel writes: "I think God loves bootleggers-defiant poets who ferment the air as they sing and lift the corners of our mouths. "Words about God should never bore. God is the opposite of boring... Whoever made this universe is a Wild Guy. I think only our ecstasies offer any real clues about Him." Just as Woody Guthrie famously wrote the slogan 'This Machine Kills Fascists' on his guitar; this book kills 'tiny gods'.

Spiritual Love

It has been said that just as every river is winding its way to the sea so every soul is returning to a glorious reunion with our source, God. ~Daniel Ladinsky Daniel Ladinsky presents poems from the past in a new clarity. He not only translated these poems, he lovingly selected poems of great beauty and meaning. While many of the poems do sing with his voice, a new understanding emerges and the message of an ecstatic union with God is very present. What is even more interesting than the poet's desire to worship God, is God's worship of humans, which can at times seem foreign unless you think of this as an admiration of His creation. Then, like two human lovers, God and mankind enter a space of love, adoration, blissful unconditional love and shared communion. In this regard, the poems are ecstatically beautiful, although not always about God. There are plenty of love poems that seem to have been written for human lovers: One regret that I am determined not to have When I am lying upon my deathbed is that we did not kiss enough. ~Hafiz (c. 1320-1329) Hafiz influenced Emerson, Goethe and Brahms and Daniel Ladinsky explains how he wrote wild love songs to the world from God. Priests also long for the love of a woman and yet maintain the vows they took and some poets compare their love to the vows the sun and the moon took as they will never touch. One of the most beautiful poems contains references to giving God a "pet" name and that he responded more to prayers when he was loved this way. I loved Rabia of Basra's poem about the moon once being a moth: The moon was once a moth who ran to God, they entwined. Now just her luminous soul remains as we gaze at it at night. Many of the poems are secretive, sensuous and tell stories from mythology. While many authors present poems without introductions, Daniel Ladinsky gives an introduction to each poet and the twelve chapters then become meaningful studies of a poet's life and longings. We learn about Tukaram and how he survived a famine or how Rumi was influenced by Rabia of Basra who was actually sold into slavery because of her beauty. Meister Eckhart gives us insight into why we all want to be loved. St. Catherine of Siena talks about only wanting to "hear the hymns of the earth, and the laughter of the sky." So, there are many poems about nature. Love Poems From God is a unique window from which to view spiritual love and you may find yourself writing your own poems, inspired by the beauty in this collection. Featured Poets: Rabia, St. Francis of Assisi, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hafiz, St. Catherine of Siena, Kabir, Mira, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Tukaram. ~The Rebecca Review

Profound theology, and poems that enchant...

I was drawn to this book after having read a review about it in a periodical I trust, that called Daniel Ladinsky, "An audacious talent with a gigantic heart and a keen sense of humor." Indeed Ladinsky's remarkable work in this book, and the majority of pages in it, reflect a great artist's love. There is a poem in this book by Thomas Aquinas called, "The Christ Said." In this poem only the first few words are those of Aquinas, the rest are all attributed to Jesus, actually they are presented as a verbatim quote?? The astonishing wonder and potential significance of these words (no matter a scholarly origin) should be deeply studied by any religious student for they are sublime, profound theology. And after reading them in amazement - several times - I could not help but to keep flipping back to the opening sentence in a short essay in the front of this book, titled: The Genesis of These Poems. That first sentence presented an intrigue to me, and it seemed a bit of spiritual (metaphysical if you will) genius. That sentence was a quote by the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz, who apparently is Ladinsky's main man in that Ladinsky has translated three other books of Hafiz. That first sentence in the essay goes: "No one could ever paint a too wonderful picture of my heart or God." I can believe that about God. But the fascination becomes: is this book an aspect of that PICTURE that has somehow reached us? The most discerning regions of me say this: few books I have held may benefit our world as much. And enchantment - yes. Often in these pages I felt I was seated before a living Teacher. A penetrating thought from this volume by Meister Eckhart made clear some of my own thoughts, spoke for me as it were when Eckhart said, "How long will grown men and women in this world keep drawing in their coloring books an image of God that makes them sad?" p. 117. Indeed, for do not our lives reflect (and in some cases ARE) our heart's image of God. And I don't think it is possible to look into this book and not see our Beloved's soul more clearly.Bravo Daniel Ladinsky, bravo!

True Romance

Faithful to the title's intimation, 'Love Poems from God' is a raucous, mesmerizing valentine of an anthology, assembling twelve eminent mystics from East and West to compare notes on the pursuit and capture of the ultimate Loved One. Cracking the binding at any point on this volume tends to snag one with the bracingly accessible spiritual insights inside, which then demand a second look that repeatedly instigates a taste for more. Academics are bound to pull a few fire alarms at the liberties taken along the way, but Dan Ladinsky is forthright enough about his approach, which amounts to roughhousing as often as playing with traditional concepts of authorship. His rationale is intriguing: Equating, in the old-fashioned way, the letter of the law with death and the spirit with life, Ladinsky roots his "portraits" of these spiritual savants in an intuitive standard of his own apprehension, then reassembles their words to clothe the shape he's found within. The great intrigue here is that Ladinsky seeks out a piece of inner turf where poet, interpreter and reader stand together, so that his re-tunings must sound out against the deepest inner promptings of each individual that encounters them. It's a standard of viability as rigorous in its own way as the fine-print exactitude of academia and clearly many times more alive. Certainly the thrust of this method is closer in spirit to the lives lived by these accomplished and much-loved seekers. The brief and moving biographies that introduce Rabia, St. Francis, Tukaram, St. John of the Cross, Kabir, Thomas Aquinas, et. al. make clear the near universal ostracism that these great lovers of God were made to suffer for the brazenness of their vision by the social and religious arbiters of their respective eras. Whatever tradeoff in literalness Ladinsky must make in his rough-and-tumble insistence on bringing such profound passion to life for the modern reader is abundantly offset by the stunning vividness with which these poets are reintroduced to us. Viewing the proof on the page, one suspects that Ladinsky can deliver on this kind of spiritual fervor -- mostly forgotten amidst our material advances -- only because he has tasted a bit of its fire and ice himself -- sort of a war correspondent ducking shrapnel on the spiritual path. No doubt he has put himself in the line of fire in some other ways as well; the timeless jockeying for stature among established religions has become a little heated of late, as many will have read in any morning's newspaper. As these mad hostilities escalate, and citadels of sanity and compassion crumble all over the place, it amounts to an act of heroism to step out front and insist on the existence of God's love as shameless and everywhere, particularly in the nakedly earthy terms Ladinsky has chosen here. As often as the assertion has been made that an identical ecstatic revelation is the impetus for every warring church, perhaps no one has made good on proving this as fear
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