Poetry Review — Rumi: Unseen Poems

Out of love for you, every strand of my hair turned into lines of poetry

Rumi: Unseen Poems translated by Brad Gooch and Maryam Mortaz is a modern and more accurate translation of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic. Many previous collections relied on old translations and translations that appealed more directly to the Western reader. This collection preserves the Islamic side of the poet. The moon plays a central role in the religion and the poetry of Rumi. There are poems where the moon is jealous of one’s beauty, the splitting of the moon, and a rooftop observation signaling the beginning of Ramadan.

Didn’t I tell you last night, “Your beautiful face is beyond compare.”
The moon jealous of your beauty was torn in two

Wine, drinking, and drunkenness are repeated throughout the collection as a metaphor. Alcohol is to be avoided because of the way it influences people and their sensibility. Matching the strength of alcohol is love. Rumi compares the feeling of love to that of wine, something that lifts one well above the tediousness of the day. It is a powerful feeling.

My face is a hundred times brighter when I see your face.
My soul is a hundred times happier when your soul is near.

The direct translation of the original texts gives a definitive view of the poet. His other writing has been embraced, edited, and mistranslated to fit into the Western New Age movements.  Using unpublished poems, the translators attempt to preserve the real Rumi complete with his religious views.  The final result is simply fantastic poetry with an Islamic tone.  The poet, after all, was a life long scholar of Islam and the Koran.

This collection will be printed in the small easy to carry around Everyman’s Library Pocket Poet hardcover bindings that also look well on one’s bookshelf. The Pocket Poets series runs nearly 120 different collections of poetry organized by poet or subject.


Available September 10, 2019

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