James Cowan’s Ode to Rumi

Rumi by Robert Lentz, OFM

The latest book from novelist, poet, and cultural historian, James Cowan, Warriors of Love: Rumi’s Odes to Shams of Tabriz, is a deeply observed portrait of one of the world’s greatest poets, Mevalana Jalalludin Rumi,

The book explores the relationship between Rumi and Shams, an itinerant philosopher who befriended the poet in Konya some time in 1244. Together they forged a mystical path that overturned the literalism of medieval Islam, along with its emphasis on the Koran as the sole expositor of faith.

Marked from an early age as a child with a fulsome destiny, young Rumi displayed a particular talent for Islamic studies, which in turn suggested his future as a theologian. It was not until he met Shams, a wandering dervish, that his life changed. He turned against the conventions of his time as a scholar under Shams’ influence. Shams was a spiritual vagabond, a dangerous eccentric, who disdained the facile injunctions of his age.

James Cowan has brought his considerable knowledge and understanding of Sufism to bear upon the poetry of Rumi. He has selected fifty poems that the poet wrote to his friend Shams when they were temporarily parted by divisions within his Sufi community in Konya. These poems reflect the extraordinary nature of their friendship and their deep love for one another, something never before articulated in Islamic poetry.

The author has presented us with new insights into these two remarkable figures. He analyses their friendship, and aligns it also with those such as Zorba and Kazantzakis, as well as Theo and Vincent Van Gogh. Cowan thus reveals to the reader a modern interpretation of an old theme: that friendship, purely expressed, is one of the true gems of the civilized mind.

Cowan’s book is eloquently written, well researched, and detailed. The Introduction alone is worth the price of purchase. 50 of Rumi’s Odes have been rendered with felicity, and flow easily from his pen. As a poet himself, Cowan has brought to his task a particular expertise, familiar as he is with the craft of modern verse. This new version of Rumi’s ghazals shines forth with an alluring luminosity. It is a timely addition to the growing library of books on one of Islam’s most loved and original poets.

About the Editor

James Cowan is a distinguished poet and novelist. His bestselling titles include A Mapmakers Dream and A Toubadour’s Testament. His books have been published in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Holland, Poland, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, Mauritius, Spain (Spanish and Catalan), Argentina, Brazil, Korea and Japan.

Warriors of Love
Rumi’s Odes to Shams of Tabriz

Mevlana Rumi
ISBN: 9781786780294
Format: Hardcover
Price: $12.95 US // $14.95 CAN
On Sale Date: 9/19/2017

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