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Man, this was surreal. And an object lesson about what can lurk in the books in one's house without anybody knowing it.

So for various reasons [personal profile] gaudior and [personal profile] weirdquark were getting out all the books of Sufi poetry, and [personal profile] weirdquark handed me her copy of Hafiz, which she's had as long as I've known her and which I've seen floating about, and I sat down with it.

The thing is, there are several methods of approaching a poetry collection. There's the approach where you open it at random, and read around until you've read it all; and the way where you skip all the prologues and introductory essays but otherwise begin at the beginning, go on till you come to the end, and either stop or go back to the front matter; and then there's the method I sometimes follow where you just sit down and read the entire thing, in order, scholarly essays and what not included. Which I did with this. [personal profile] weirdquark had never actually read the front matter.

You may notice that the author I have listed for this book is not Hafiz. That's because this turns out not to be an actual translation of Hafiz. It's a kind of jazz improvisation on somebody else's translations of Hafiz, inspired by the author's experiences worshiping, in an impressively and hilariously devoted way, the Indian guru Meher Baba.

The introduction has more randomly capitalized words than one would really expect. )


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