Jamil Morris
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“The lyrical poems, known as ghazals, of Hafiz of Shiraz, are both literature and mysticism of the very highest order. Written in the 14th century A.D., in Fars (modern day Iran), they continue to inspire admiration; but they are clearly also deeply inspired. Whilst the literary content and form are quite untranslatable, their mystical content touches on universal Truth in such a sure way that it can open doors in the minds of the sensitive and mystically inclined reader even through the veil of the ages. The ghazals of Hafiz continue to be used by contemporary singers in the Sufi Qwaali tradition.
There are only currently four serious attempts to translate the entire ghazals of Hafiz – these are all laudable but are literal and not presented as rhymed poetry. The present edition not only represents the poems in rhymed and readable English but accompanies them with both the original Farsi and a transliteration into “romanised” script. This is unique with regard to the presentation of Hafiz. It means non Farsi-knowing readers can not only get the meaning of the text but can also recite them in their original form. Given the mystical power of Hafiz’s verse, this is an important addition.
This is not a scholarly tome, but neither is it a free, modern expression of mystical half-truths. Translated by a practising Sufi poet, along with a scholarly-minded lover of Hafiz from Shiraz, it is as true to the original texts that are known as is possible, whilst still being readable English poetry. The whole is divided into four sections – each one presented as a book in its own right. There is a brief commentary on each ghazal, in English. Verses that are disregarded by modern scholars are included in a separate section only as translations. There is a brief introduction to Hafiz’s little-known life and a glossary of terms for the English reader.”
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