Rumi’s greatest love


Today’s a day to celebrate all kinds of love, and here are some poems for it that you’ve probably never seen. Rumi’s Persian work is very well known and loved in the English-speaking world, but he also wrote in Arabic. As a mystic Sufi, he is much less known in the Arabic-speaking and Sunni world, and mostly in translations via English.  Love is my Savior: The Arabic Poems of Rumi, bridges this gap, bringing together some of Rumi’s Arabic poems with their first-ever English translations.

The poet (Lee) and the Arabic translator (Akhtarkhavari) made a deliberate decision to rhyme in English too, which meant they also went for iambic pentameter. It’s harder to rhyme in English than in Arabic, and this sometimes could feel a little forced. But mostly,

Rumi’s love for God, and for his lost teacher and friend (and lover?) Shams e-Tabrizi, all come together here. The spiritual and the (homo)erotic are intertwined – the one leads to the other. Being together is intoxicating, and as close to heaven as it gets:


Rumi is writing in the thirteenth century, but his response to separation from his beloved is utterly relatable 800 years on – and almost tweetably compact:


Being together is, quite simply, home.


Rumi welcomes everyone to “join the feast”: you can get the book from Michigan State University Press. If you’re stuck for a last-minute gift, you can beam it to an e-reader right now… Happy Valentine’s Day – or Friend’s Day, as it is in Finland.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, faith, poetry, translation
2 comments on “Rumi’s greatest love
  1. […] The author, Attar, was a 12th century Persian mystic who inspired the great Rumi. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Children's Books China Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Danish Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award English Estonian Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hungarian Iceland Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Irish Gaelic Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Norwegian Old English Olga Tokarczuk Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary Penguin PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Salla Simukka Second World War Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson transation Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing YA

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: