Beacon Press: Kabir
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Ecstatic Poems

Translated by: Robert Bly   Afterword by: John Stratton Hawley

A thoroughly revised edition of the classic collection, with a new afterword by John Stratton Hawley and ten poems newly translated by Robert Bly.

Originally published in 1976 and having sold more than 75,000 copies to date, Kabir is a classic. Now, we are proud to publish a revised, beautifully designed hardcover edition that includes 10 new translations.

A weaver by trade but a poet-singer by calling, Kabir lived in fifteenth-century India. His philosophy incorporated the beliefs and practices of both Muslims and Hindus. Not only did Kabir influence these religious traditions, he was one of the major inspirations behind Sikhism as well.

The power of Kabir’s words come from his passion-and also from his humor. He is at once irreverent toward authority and amazed by divinity. He demands that readers live for themselves. In the tradition of ecstatic poetry, Kabir writes of bodily delights and of choices made by the heart, not the mind.

Columbia University professor of religion John Stratton Hawley’s new introduction places Kabir’s work firmly into modern times, explaining the value of Bly’s work with these poems. As our contemporary world struggles with political turmoil caused by religious beliefs, the poems of Kabir seem as relevant today as when they were first written.
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“One of the luminous experiences of American poetry. . . Kabir is a poet who connects the modes of thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation at every turn of thought and phrase.” -Jonathan Cott, Rolling Stone

“Robert Bly earns the thanks of us all. I, for one, will reread [Bly’s Kabir] often. Kabir can be seen as a welcome member to that brotherhood of mystic American poets, novelists and painters.” -Paul Carroll, The American Poetry Review

“Kabir is a mystical affirmer, a Romantic rebel going his own way. Like Bly, he has a fondness for metaphorical affirmations that fly off the page. . . One of the pleasures of these poems is in their sensuous opulence.” -Michael Kincaid, Minneapolis Tribune

“Bly has created a pure poetry not only by refinement of language but by affinity of heart and mind. . . To say that Bly’s Kabir is one of the highest points in recent poetry publishing is irrelevant. Easily it is. Easily it is one of the highest points in all of poetry.” -Douglas Blazek, The American Book Review


Review by: Hayden Carruth, New York Times Book Review - November 6, 2003
"Kabir's poems give off a marvelous radiant intensity that never fails. . . they have exactly the luminous depth that permits and invites many rereadings."

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ISBN: 978-080706384-2
Publication Date: 4/15/2004
Pages: 128
Size: x Inches (US)
Price:  $16.00
Format: Cloth
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