The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez

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9780061138836: The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez

At last in English is a wide selection from the great Persian poet Hafez, so beloved in Iran that almost every family there keeps his Divan close at hand. When Robert Bly and Coleman Barks visited Iran, they heard schoolchildren singing Hafez poems at his graveside. For some fifteen years, the great Islamic scholar Leonard Lewisohn has worked with Robert Bly to produce this translation, which for the first time carries into English Hafez's nimbleness, his fierce humor directed at the mullahs, his astonishing range of thought, and the delight of his love poems. A master of the ghazal form, one of the greatest inventions in the history of poetry, Hafez may be considered as Rumi's wild younger brother, and is now translated into an English that helps us understand his true genius.

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About the Author:

Robert Bly's books of poetry include The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy. His awards include the National Book Award for poetry and two Guggenheims. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



Dr. Leonard Lewisohn is Lecturer in Persian and the Iran Heritage Foundation Fellow in Classical Persian and Sufi Literature at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in England.

From Publishers Weekly:

The medieval Persian mystical poet Hafez used sinuous lines and ringing metaphors to write about wisdom, the dangers of repression and the paradoxes of his faith. His blend of simplicity and challenge makes him the most popular poet in Iran today. Bly and Lewisohn (a world-class Sufism expert) present clear and memorable versions of Hafez's renowned lyric meditations, though they forgo the original ghazal form (with its intricate repetitions) in favor of unrhymed pentameters. Sometimes their Hafez offers good advice: Let's be faithful to what we love./ And keep our spirits high. Sometimes he describes his warmth and contentment: The delight of a few words/ With a soul friend for us is enough. Just as often, though, he shows how the ways of his seeking, and the distance between divine immanence and earthly travail, can disturb even the most sincere follower: Don't imagine us to be like the tulip, he concludes; rather look at the dark/ Spot of grief we have set on our scorched hearts. Though Hafez does not (yet) have the immense Western popularity of that other Sufi mystic, Rumi, his verse has all the ingredients to make a similar splash. (Apr.)
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Hafez (Robert Bly & Leonard Lewisohn)
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Book Description Harper, New York, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st US Edition. The great Persian poet Hafez is so beloved in Iran that almost every family there keeps his Divan close at hand. For some fifteen years, esteemed American poet and author Robert Bly has worked with the great Islamic scholar Leonard Lewisohn to produce this translation, which for the first time captures Hafez's nimbleness, his fierce humor, his astonishing range of thought, and his delight in love--enabling English speakers to fully appreciate the true genius of this master of the ghazal form, one of the greatest inventions in the history of poetry. 114p. Bookseller Inventory # 31487

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