Jelaluddin Rumi was born in the year 1207 and until the age of thirty-seven was a brilliant scholar and popular teacher. But his life changed forever when he met the powerful wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz, of whom Rumi said, "What I had thought of before as God, I met today in a human being." From this mysterious and esoteric friendship came a new height of spiritual enlightenment. When Shams disappeared, Rumi began his transformation from scholar to artist, and his poetry began to fly. Today, the ecstatic poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi is more popular than ever, and Coleman Barks, through his musical and magical translations, has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to devoted followers. Now, for the first time, Barks has gathered the essential poems of Rumi and put them together in this wonderful comprehensive collection that delights with playful energy and unequaled passion. The Essential Rumi offers the most beautiful rendering of the primary poetry of Rumi to both devoted enthusiasts and novice readers. Poems about everything from bewilderment, emptiness, and silence to flirtation, elegance, and majesty are presented with love, humor, warmth, and tenderness. Take in the words of Jelaluddin Rumi and feel yourself transported to the magical, mystical place of a whirling, ecstatic poet.