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Bridge to the Soul: Journeys Into the Music and Silence of the Heart

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2007 is the "Year of Rumi," and who better than Coleman Barks, Rumi's unlikely, supremely passionate ambassador, to mark the milestone of this great poet's 800th birthday? Barks, who was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Persian language and literature by the University of Tehran for his thirty years of translating Rumi, has collected and translated ninety new poem 2007 is the "Year of Rumi," and who better than Coleman Barks, Rumi's unlikely, supremely passionate ambassador, to mark the milestone of this great poet's 800th birthday? Barks, who was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Persian language and literature by the University of Tehran for his thirty years of translating Rumi, has collected and translated ninety new poems, most of them never published before in any form. The result is this beautiful edition titled Rumi: Bridge to the Soul. The "bridge" in the title is a reference to the Khajou Bridge in Isphahan, Iran, which Barks visited with Robert Bly in May of 2006—a trip that in many ways prompted this book. The "soul bridge" also suggests Rumi himself, who crosses cultures and religions and brings us all together to listen to his words, regardless of origin or creed. Open this book and let Rumi's poetry carry you into the interior silence and joy of the spirit, the place that unites conscious knowing with a deeper, more soulful understanding.


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2007 is the "Year of Rumi," and who better than Coleman Barks, Rumi's unlikely, supremely passionate ambassador, to mark the milestone of this great poet's 800th birthday? Barks, who was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Persian language and literature by the University of Tehran for his thirty years of translating Rumi, has collected and translated ninety new poem 2007 is the "Year of Rumi," and who better than Coleman Barks, Rumi's unlikely, supremely passionate ambassador, to mark the milestone of this great poet's 800th birthday? Barks, who was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Persian language and literature by the University of Tehran for his thirty years of translating Rumi, has collected and translated ninety new poems, most of them never published before in any form. The result is this beautiful edition titled Rumi: Bridge to the Soul. The "bridge" in the title is a reference to the Khajou Bridge in Isphahan, Iran, which Barks visited with Robert Bly in May of 2006—a trip that in many ways prompted this book. The "soul bridge" also suggests Rumi himself, who crosses cultures and religions and brings us all together to listen to his words, regardless of origin or creed. Open this book and let Rumi's poetry carry you into the interior silence and joy of the spirit, the place that unites conscious knowing with a deeper, more soulful understanding.

30 review for Bridge to the Soul: Journeys Into the Music and Silence of the Heart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    "Be clear like a mirror reflecting nothing. Be clean of pictures and the worry that comes with images. Gaze into what is not ashamed or afraid of any truth. Contain all human faces in your own without any judgment of them. Be pure emptiness. What is inside that? you ask. Silence is all I can say. Lovers have some secrets that they keep." Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī(30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273) At the proposal of the Permanent Delegations of Afghanistan, "Be clear like a mirror reflecting nothing. Be clean of pictures and the worry that comes with images. Gaze into what is not ashamed or afraid of any truth. Contain all human faces in your own without any judgment of them. Be pure emptiness. What is inside that? you ask. Silence is all I can say. Lovers have some secrets that they keep." Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī(30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273) At the proposal of the Permanent Delegations of Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, and as approved by its Executive Board and General Conference in conformity with its mission of “constructing in the minds of men the defences of peace”, UNESCO was associated with the celebration, in 2007, of the eight hundredth anniversary of Rumi's birth. The commemoration at UNESCO itself took place on 6 September 2007; UNESCO issued a medal in Rumi's name in the hope that it would prove an encouragement to those who are engaged in research on and dissemination of Rumi's ideas and ideals, which would, in turn, enhance the diffusion of the ideals of UNESCO. To commemorate the occasion, HarperCollins released Bridge to the Soul, a compilation of Rumi's poetry by Coleman Barks, a lifelong interpreter and champion of Rumi's works. The compilation consists of 90 of Rumi's poems. The "bridge" in the title is a reference to the Khajou Bridge in Isphahan, Iran, which Barks visited with Robert Bly in May of 2006—a trip that in many ways prompted this book. The "soul bridge" also suggests Rumi himself, who crosses cultures and religions and brings us all together to listen to his words, regardless of origin or creed. Khajou Bridge Mevlana Museum, the shrine of Rumi

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A former spiritual teacher of mine contacted me earlier this spring, to ask if I wanted to join her 9 week “Rumi and Mystical Poetry” intensive, using Coleman Barks' “Bridge to the Soul” as a guide. I bought the precious little hardcover that fits so perfectly in the human hand and thought. . . how can I commit to a 9 week class? I'm a mother of three and, while one IS fully formed, the other two are like those little creatures from Dr. Seuss's “Hop on Pop.” Remember: “Day, Play. We play all day. A former spiritual teacher of mine contacted me earlier this spring, to ask if I wanted to join her 9 week “Rumi and Mystical Poetry” intensive, using Coleman Barks' “Bridge to the Soul” as a guide. I bought the precious little hardcover that fits so perfectly in the human hand and thought. . . how can I commit to a 9 week class? I'm a mother of three and, while one IS fully formed, the other two are like those little creatures from Dr. Seuss's “Hop on Pop.” Remember: “Day, Play. We play all day. Night, Fight. We fight all night?” Anyway, I'm tired, I'm busy, and I thought I couldn't make time for Rumi. But what a mistake, to think I couldn't make time for Rumi. People, we all need to make time for Rumi! So, I begged the family, made it happen, and sometimes, on the day of the class, I had to prepare the entire day to make the 2 hour evening class work. But it worked. We started with Coleman Barks' Introduction, where he quotes Nietzsche, “What is great in man is that he is a bridge, and not a goal.” And adds, “A human being is a going-across.” A human being is a going-across? Oh, dear God, can you dream up a sentence more delicious?? And then we jumped in to Rumi. And what can I do here but tell you that as we finished the class each evening and I walked out to my car with a full panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains in the background, I felt as happy as a young bride. I smiled the entire drive home, feeling that Everything around me was One. That, if I worked at it, I could find my way to love all of Humanity. That, though I sometimes feel I am one hot mess, my soul is perfect. By morning, it was harder to hold on to the spell that Rumi cast, but when I felt my grasp slipping, I would open the book again, hungry for more of that experience of One. It is obviously a work-in-progress, a lifetime commitment, but this journey begins with the simple act of reading one of Rumi's poems. I could not begin to include my favorite passages in this review. Honestly, I would just be re-writing the entire book. But I would like to finish here with Rumi's words, rather than mine: We tremble like leaves about to let go. There is no avoiding pain, or feeling exiled, or the taste of dust. But also we have a green-winged longing for the sweetness of the friend. (32) Root like a lotus, plunging deep in the mud, that does not mind a death-wind in its leaves. Wait, for I am waiting, too. (109)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kimber

    Gold.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Kapllani

    Although it was hard for me to understand what he is saying in a lot of his poems, they are really beautiful. I really like this one called "Secret Places;" Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty. Reason says, Nonsense. I have walked and measured the walls here. There are no places like that. Love says, There are. Reason sets up a market and begins doing business. Love has more hidden work. Hallaj steps away from the pulpit and climbs the stairs of the Although it was hard for me to understand what he is saying in a lot of his poems, they are really beautiful. I really like this one called "Secret Places;" Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty. Reason says, Nonsense. I have walked and measured the walls here. There are no places like that. Love says, There are. Reason sets up a market and begins doing business. Love has more hidden work. Hallaj steps away from the pulpit and climbs the stairs of the gallows. Lovers feel a truth inside themselves that rational people keep denying. It is reasonable to say, Surrender is just an idea that keeps people from leading their lives. Love responds, No. This thinking is what is dangerous. Using language obscures what Shams come to give. Every day the sun rises out of low word-clouds into burning silence.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Miksa

    I like how the translator touched upon bridges to demonstrate Rumi's poetry as a bridge to the soul. A bridge filled with echoes of silence and well-being. To let in the Shams. As for the Ruminator poems themselves, there has been something lost in translation is my belief. Irregardless, I enjoyed most of the poems but only a select few touched me. One of my favorite lines is "We must die to become true human beings."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    "The Essential Rumi" and "The Soul of Rumi" are both better collections of poems than this one; here we seem to be getting to the dregs of Rumi, yet even Rumi's dregs are superior to the cream of many poets. There were several poems in this collection that moved me deeply, and some that had no effect at all. Though not the best selection of Rumi's verses, this book is still well worth reading. In the introduction, Coleman Barks tells of how members of diverse religions (Hindus, Christians, Musli "The Essential Rumi" and "The Soul of Rumi" are both better collections of poems than this one; here we seem to be getting to the dregs of Rumi, yet even Rumi's dregs are superior to the cream of many poets. There were several poems in this collection that moved me deeply, and some that had no effect at all. Though not the best selection of Rumi's verses, this book is still well worth reading. In the introduction, Coleman Barks tells of how members of diverse religions (Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Jews) attended Rumi's funeral. When asked why, they said, "He strengthens us where we are." That is how I feel about Rumi's poetry: though not a Christian himself, he strengthens me AS a Christian; his poetry often speaks to me in a spiritual way and moves me in a way I am rarely moved. While I like Coleman Barks translations of Rumi, and I am glad he has dug up some more poems to offer us, I could have done without his introduction to this volume. First he went on in too much detail about a particular bridge, and then he went off onto a political schpiel that involved comparing Iran's government to that of the United States (yes, true, Iran is oppressive, but, hey, look at us!). Then he did some self-congratulatory backslapping for the one Bush bash he couldn't resist making publicly in Iran. While I am certainly no political fan of Bush, I could do without all the self-righteous academics and celebrities focusing with single-vision on the flaws in their own country while yucking it up with the tyrants of other countries. There's no need to feel self-satisfied about a Bush-slap while visiting a nation whose regime feeds the people a steady diet of anti-Americanism. Hey, here's some interesting facts Americans may not know about Iran, courtesy of Coleman Barks: Tehran has no ghettos (what a pleasant, poverty-free land!), wonderfully cheap gas, and people who never act like they hate Americans even though they really, truly should. The introduction aside, I, of course, enjoyed Rumi's poems.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edita

    Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty. Reason says, Nonsense. I have walked and measured the walls here. There are no places like that. Love says, There are.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I was listening to a podcast on Speaking of Faith, an interview with a woman expert on Rumi, I was listening to her read one of the poems on birds while birds were flying over the James River, one of those 'you had to be there moments', went right out when I got home to get the book she recommended. I'm reading a poem each day and I'm still trying to get into it, we'll see.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Beautiful poetry, some of it is very hard to interpret, even though the translation is good. It's just so hard for me to believe Rumi's love for Shams wasn't physical instead of religious. But that aside, the poems work either way. I always have to take my time when reading Rumi. His poems are to be savored. This new collection for his 800th anniversary is a jewel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shokufeh شکوفه Kavani کاوانی

    Colman Barks has to be appreciated and admired for the great works that he has done into introducing Rumi to the western world......I hope somebody could do the same for Hafez, Saadi and other Iranian poets and writers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bodour

    This book is not one of the best I've read on Rumi. The poems here are the ones that were never published before. Nevertheless, it was a lovely book to read. Anything by Rumi is lovely :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This book is so inspiring, as most of Rumi's work is. I also liked the introduction and information about the poet.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Armand Cognetta

    “Be a helpful friend, and you will become a green tree with always new fruit, always deeper journeys into love.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Essentially magical A series of 90 poems, translated from Persian, by an obvious free-thinker. Interesting that there are no religious barriers within the poems – no indication of one religion being superior to another, bearing in mind the poems are over 800 years old. What a shame that this ideal no longer seems to exist in our so-called advanced world. In modern parlance, Rumi’s philosophy is ‘live and let live’. There are many poems that resonate with me, but this is my favourite: No Expectatio Essentially magical A series of 90 poems, translated from Persian, by an obvious free-thinker. Interesting that there are no religious barriers within the poems – no indication of one religion being superior to another, bearing in mind the poems are over 800 years old. What a shame that this ideal no longer seems to exist in our so-called advanced world. In modern parlance, Rumi’s philosophy is ‘live and let live’. There are many poems that resonate with me, but this is my favourite: No Expectations “A spirit that lives in this world and does not wear the shirt of love, such an existence is a deep disgrace. Be foolishly in love, because love is all there is. There is no way into presence except through a love exchange. If someone asks, But what is love? Answer; dissolving the will. True freedom comes to those who have escaped the questions of freewill and fate. Love is an emperor. The two worlds play across him. He barely notices their tumbling game. Love and lover live in eternity. Other desires are substitutes for that way of being. How long do you lay embracing a corpse? Love rather the soul, which cannot be held. Anything born in spring dies in the fall, but love is not seasonal. With wine pressed from grapes, expect a hangover. But this love path has no expectations. You are uneasy riding the body? Dismount. Travel lighter. Wings will be given. Be clear like a mirror reflecting nothing. Be clean of pictures and the worry that comes with images. Gaze into what is not ashamed or afraid of any truth. Contain all human faces in your own without any judgment of them. Be pure emptiness. What is inside that? You ask. Silence is all I can say. Lovers have some secrets that they keep.” Rumi: Bridge to the Soul

  15. 4 out of 5

    Avinash Kumar

    A beautiful gift from the middle east to the rest of the world. I only wish some day I learn Arabic to enjoy the true beauty of the work of Rumi. Every word has a stamp of divinity marked on it despite being translated in a western language. I equally loved the cover of the book which reminded of architecture of the place it belongs to.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Yaqub

    If somebody ask me for a review of this book I will simply quote Let me be quite In the middle of this noise #Rumi And Be silent now Say fewer and fewer praise poems Let yourself become living poetry #Rumi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marlena

    Very melodic poems. Probably I would have enjoyed it more if I read other poems by Rumi before. But this definitely made me want to read more poetry of his. The introduction makes more sense now that the book is finished, but again, to someone that is familiar with Rumi it'll be really interesting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pranjali Sharma

    It's a beautiful compilation of Rumi's poems. A bit difficult to understand if reading Rumi for the first time, but, shouldn't be read without any references so as to have a clearer picture while reading the poems. Beautiful imagery, figure of speeches and words used ❤.

  19. 4 out of 5

    meg

    Did not technically read every poem but Coleman Barks knows what is up, an amazing translator

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elvina Zafril

    It’s hard to understand some of the poems but they are beautifully written :”))

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amrita Shodhan

    Enjoyed it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    c wylie misselhorn

    Rumi is definitely one of my favorite poets.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lau

    Lovely and touchting poems that touched my soul! Nice book that introduced me to the world of the world famous poet, writer and mystic Rumi..

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    My absolute favorite!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Very interesting, deep poems.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lancen Davis Harms

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. enjoyed the literal bridges

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Leigh

    Beautiful translation

  28. 5 out of 5

    R.C.

    Probably not the BEST introduction to Rumi, but that's my fault, not the book's.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Night

    Too deep

  30. 5 out of 5

    theshadishow

    this was a peculiar and somewhat jarring translation with some blatant anachronisms, but there were also some lovely gems in this collection

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