The Poet Rumi at 800

Eight hundred years ago this week, in the mountains of a Persian-speaking realm now known as Afghanistan, a great mystic poet of the Islamic world — and now the whole world — was born. In his lifetime, Jalaluddin Rumi and his family fled before invading Mongols, across what’s now Iran and into Turkey.

Today, his ecstatic, sensual poetry of love and spiritual seeking fills volumes of the hottest-selling poetry in America. Where contemporary Islam can look severe, Rumi looks lush, sounds gorgeous, and reads like heaven.

This hour, On Point: the great mystic. Reading Rumi at eight hundred.


James Morris, professor of theology at Boston College.

Fatemeh Keshavarz, chair of the department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis and author of “Jasmines and Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran.”

Coleman Barks, author of “Rumi: Bridge to the Soul,” “The Essential Rumi,” “Rumi: The Book of Love,” and others collections.

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