Archive for the 'Poetry Chaikhana Misc.' Category

Mar 13 2020

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – Like This

Like This
by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Jonathan Star

If someone asks,
“What does perfect beauty look like?”
Show him your own face and say,
Like this.

If someone asks,
“What does an angel’s wing look like?” — smile.
If he asks about divine fragrance
Pull him close, his face in your hair,
Like this.

If someone asks,
“How did Jesus bring the dead back to life?” —
Don’t say a word —
just kiss him softly on the cheek,
Like this.

If someone asks,
“How does it feel to be slain by love?”
Close your eyes and tear open your shirt,
Like this.

If someone asks about my stature,
Stare into space with your eyes wide open,
Like this.

The soul enters one body, then another.
If someone argues about this
Enter my house and wave him good-bye,
Like this.

I am the storehouse of all pleasure,
I am the pain of self-denial.
To see me, lower your eyes to the ground
Then raise them up to heaven,
Like this.

Only the gentle breeze
Knows the secret of union.
Listen as it whispers a song to every heart,
Like this.

If someone asks,
How does a servant attain the glory of God?
Become the shining candle
That every eye can see,
Like this.

I asked about Joseph’s perfume
Which rode the wind from city to city —
It was your scent
Blowing in from God’s perfect world,
Like this.

I asked how Joseph’s perfume
Gave sight to the blind —
It was your breeze
Clearing the darkness from my eyes,
Like this.

Perhaps Shams will be generous
And fill our hearts with love.
Perhaps he will raise one eyebrow
And cast us a glance,
Like this.

— from Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, by Jonathan Star


/ Image by Fadzly Mubin /

I was considering holding off on sending out a poem this week. I’ve been busy with my day job and rather tired, but mostly there are such important concerns demanding our attention — people are anxious about the coronavirus pandemic and, in the US, the elections. I don’t want to ignore these issues and share poems that can feel disconnected from people’s real worries.

Of course, poetry, especially sacred poetry, is not disconnected or merely ornamental. Poetry speaks to the heart of the matter much better than any headline. Poetry reminds us of our humanity… and our divinity. It is an exploration of feeling and perception and reality. It leads us into an open field with unanticipated possibilities. It is our companion in grief and fear, and it gives us words for our exultation and raptures. Poetry allows us to be more fully ourselves. It invites us to fill out our lives with a richer sense of who we are.

So more poetry not less.

Like this.

=

Have a beautiful weekend. Be appropriately aware and cautious, but don’t give in to paranoia. The real sickness being spread by this disease is a breakdown of human connection within society. Find a healthy balance that keeps a warm, supportive sense of community alive.


Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
More Books >>


Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Afghanistan & Turkey (1207 – 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

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8 responses so far

Feb 05 2020

Ivan M. Granger – Thief of hearts

Thief of hearts
by Ivan M. Granger

Thief of hearts,
you have ransacked
this beggar’s hut,
left me
nothing.

All I see
now
is the print
of your pilfering hand
everywhere.

— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger


/ Image by notsogoodphotography /

It has been a while since I featured one of my own poems. Here is one for you today in homage to that “thief of hearts,” who is, of course, the Beloved, God.

Let’s face it, from the ego’s point-of-view, the relationship with the Divine is a problematic one. What the heart recognizes as liberation, the ego sees as theft. It’s really very funny… when we’re not tormented by the spiritual dilemma, that is.

All that the ego claims as its own slips from its grip. Control and possession define the ego. So what is it to do when the master thief breaks into the awareness and reveals everything to be the filmy stuff of dreams and light?

In that ultimate moment, however, the emerging bliss is so all-pervasive that even the drowning ego laughs with its last gasp.

Something I thought I’d point out about the poem’s structure: The poem itself is a pair of thieving hands. It has two groups of five lines, suggesting two hands with five fingers each.

Also, notice that the lines “left me / nothing” are intentionally ambiguous. They could be saying that the thief of hearts has left me with nothing — having taken everything — or perhaps it is saying the thief has left me as nothing — without identity or sense of ego.

The line breaks for “All I see / now” leads the unconscious mind to read several layers of meaning into the lines. Some part of the awareness will read that first line as a complete statement of its own: “I see all.” To follow with the single word “now” snaps the awareness into the present moment. When one sees all, one is fully present, now. Or, when one sees, all is in the present moment.

In this supremely full moment, the “pilfering hand” has removed everything. The world normally perceived as a scattered collection of disconnected people and objects disappears. But — and here’s another secret — that hand secretly gives as it takes. The “print” of that hand leaves us, instead, within a magical universe filled with immensity and life and a giddy sense of being that flows everywhere.

===

Too much explanation? Maybe we should just let the poem itself do its work…


Recommended Books: Ivan M. Granger

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania
More Books >>


Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

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12 responses so far

Dec 17 2019

Gabriel Rosenstock – frosty morning

frosty morning
by Gabriel Rosenstock

frosty morning
      a robin bares his breast
            to the whole world

— from Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition, by Gabriel Rosenstock


/ Image by Richard Towell /

A frosty morning here in Colorado.

It still has that special sense of life to me, like a newborn: the Poetry Chaikhana’s latest publication, Haiku Enlightenment, by Gabriel Rosenstock. I couldn’t help but feature another selection from its pages, this by the author himself.

Remember poetry when you are planning gifts and maybe a year-end treat for yourself. Purchasing a copy of Haiku Enlightenment is a wonderful way to welcome the magic of haiku into your home, as well as Gabriel’s inspired observations on haiku as a pathway of awareness, compassion, and reconnection. And, of course, your purchase helps support the Poetry Chaikhana.

If you are on Facebook, I have just set up new Haiku Enlightenment Facebook page inspired by the new book. Personally, I’m always happy to see a haiku or short poem slip into my FB newsfeed when I check it — a secret invitation to pause, take a breath, and notice the world again. I invite you to visit and hang out with the haiku.

Okay, time to step out into that chilly morning and fill my lungs with the crisp air. The world awaits.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: Gabriel Rosenstock

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Bliain an Bhandé – Year of the Goddess Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition Uttering Her Name Where Light Begins: Haiku
More Books >>


Gabriel Rosenstock, Gabriel Rosenstock poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Gabriel Rosenstock

Ireland (1949 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : Celtic

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One response so far

Dec 12 2019

Holiday Book Recommendations 2019

Every year I am surprised by how quickly the holidays are upon us, and this year is no exception. It is already the middle of December. Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, the New Year — they’re all just a couple of weeks away!

If you’re still looking for the right gifts for family, like-minded friends, or even fo yourself as a way to begin the new year, consider the gift of poetry and inspiration. Poetry lasts in ways few other gifts can. A really good poem unwraps itself a little more each time it is read, becoming a continuously opening gift to the mind and the heart.


Here is a a holiday sampler to consider as gifts for you and your loved ones:

Let’s start, of course, with some Poetry Chaikhana publicatons…

Haiku Enlightenment, Gabriel Rosenstock The Poetry Chaikhana’s newest publication!

Haiku Enlightenment
New Expanded Edition

by Gabriel Rosenstock

$16.95

PURCHASE



Marrow of Flame US
 Marrow of Flame UK Marrow of Flame CAN 
£12.99 / €15.25

or ask at your local independent book store

Haiku Enlightenment is a delightful, often playful look at haiku as both a poetic craft and a pathway of awakening – for poets, seekers and creative rebels.

Gabriel Rosenstock has given us a rich collection of insights, distilled from a lifetime dedicated to the art and practice of poetry, on stepping into inspired moments. Using a generous selection of contemporary and classical haiku, he explores ideas of creativity and perception, encouraging us to calm the restless mind, notice what is overlooked, explore the world around us, and fully encounter each glowing moment.

From such moments, haiku – and enlightenment – emerge.

Haiku happens in this world of daily miracles and is a perfect prism through which Nature herself enlightens us.
– Gabriel Rosenstock, from Haiku Enlightenment

READ MORE

the moon    
has found it for me    
a mountain path    

    Michael McClintock   

with every gust
the butterfly finds a new home
on the willow

Basho

    the body of the Buddha
    accepts it–
    winter rain

         Issa

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away

    Richard Wright

To satisfy that longing (or awaken it)…

The Longing in Between

Sacred Poetry from Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In many ways this is my most personal publication, combining favorite soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by the thoughts, meditations, commentary, and occasional tangents that have been central to the Poetry Chaikhana poem emails for years. Selections from Rumi, Whitman, Kabir, Machado, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Yunus Emre, John of the Cross, Lalla, and many others.

These are poems of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between.

The Longing in Between is a work of sheer beauty. Ivan M. Granger has done a great service, not only by bringing [these poems] to public attention, but by opening their deeper meaning with his own rare poetic and mystic sensibility.”

ROGER HOUSDEN
author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series




READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery


This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery

A few words to find silence…

Gathering Silence

Sayings by Ivan M. Granger
Collages by Rashani Réa

Gathering Silence is a collection of meditative sayings and bits of poetry, accompanied throughout by stunning full-color artwork by internationally-known collage artist, Rashani Réa. This is beautiful book, filled with color, creative thoughts, and meditative moments. Perfect for an altar or meditation space, by your bed or on a coffee table. A wonderful gift for family, friends, and fellow seekers!


The individual is really
a magical act of seeing
with no fixed eye.

All of mysticism comes down to this:
to recognize
what is already
and always here.


Protect
the wild places
in yourself.


READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery


For illumination…

The Illuminated Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks
Art by Michael Green

I keep recommending this year after year. It is a perfect gift book with excerpts of Rumi’s poetry accompanied by amazing digital collage artwork that draws you deeply into each page. This book entrances on several levels. An excellent gift book.

The Fire of Darkness: What Burned Me Away Completely, I Became

Poetry by Fred LaMotte
Art by Rashani Réa

Another collection of the wonderful, meditative artwork of Rashani Réa, accompanied by the poetry of Fred LaMotte. I don’t think I have featured the work of Fred LaMotte, but that is something I will have to rectify soon. I have been aware of his writing for several years and I am a genuine fan. There is something immediate, fully present, but with dancing, playful sense of language — all reflecting the insights of a true modern mystic. A magical book!



For the wise woman…

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.

Marrow of the Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey

Dorothy Walters explores the spiritual journey through its ecstasies, struggles, and vistas. Each step is observed with the keen insight and clear voice of a modern woman who is both a skilled poet and genuine mystic.

Also published by the Poetry Chaikhana — Our best seller, in fact! READ MORE



A Sampling of Sufi Wisdom…

Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition
Translations by David and Sabrineh Fideler

A very good collection of Persian Sufi poetry. This book focuses on poems and poets that are not as well known in the West. A good place to discover some new names.

Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years
By Idries Shah

Short wisdom stories from the Sufi tradition that surprise with unexpected insight, delightful humor, and enigmatic conclusions that invite deeper contemplation. I have been rereading this favorite collection for years.

The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry
Translations by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

One of my favorite collections of the Persian Sufi poets, some you may have heard of and others who may be new to you: Jami, Attar, Hamadani, Iraqi, Hafez, Ibn Arabi, Sanai, and many others. If you like Sufi poetry, this is a book you should have.

For the Christian contemplative…

For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics
by Roger Housden

This has quickly become one of my favorite collections of sacred poetry within the many Christian traditions. John of the Cross, Merton, Hildegard von Bingen, Gibran, Dante, Meister Eckhart, Blake… and Roger Housden’s brief, thoughtful insights.

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Merton, in addition to being a deep mystic, was a truly excellent contemporary poet. His poems feel entirely modern, yet touch on the eternal. While drawing on Catholic imagery, one can hear whispers of Eastern philosophy and insight in his words. Poems to reread and meditate deeply upon.



For the Jewish mystic…

The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition
Translated and Edited by Peter Cole

Finally we have a truly excellent collection of sacred Jewish poetry. While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole’s The Poetry of Kabbalah has more of a poet’s sense of language and even catches of few sparks from the mystic’s fire. This is poetry that startles and transports. The Poetry of Kabbalah has become my favorite source for Jewish mystical poetry in English.
While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole has more of a poet’s sense of language. Very highly recommended.



A little Zen in your pocket…

The Poetry of Zen (Shambhala Library)
Edited by Sam Hamill and J P Seaton

A very nice sampler of Japanese and Chinese Zen poetry. Han Shan, Li Po, Wang Wei, Basho, Soseki, Ryokan, Issa… The book fits well in your hand when you’re walking to the riverside or the local coffee shop.

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
Edited by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

A good collection without being overwhelming. I especially like it’s selection of Japanese haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, Masahide…

(And don’t forget the Poetry Chaikhana’s new book, Haiku Enlightenment!)



For the Rilke lover…

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

There are several very good translations of Rilke available, but I’ve slowly come to the opinion that Barrows and Macy, more than any others, get the tone just right. Their Rilke translations glow and uplift, but without losing the shadows that also haunt the spaces between his words. Perfect!

In the Company of Rilke
by Stephanie Dowrick

A lovely, insightful meditation of the poetry of Rilke and why it speaks so powerfully to us today. The perfect companion book to pair with your favorite Rilke collection.

Artist, Therapist, Shaman…

Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
By John Fox

Not a book of poetry, but a book that belongs on every poetry lover’s bookshelf. This is a book about the transformational nature of poetry – reading it, speaking it, writing it. Poetry as therapy. Poetry as a pathway to self-exploration. Poetry to rediscover your true voice. I was surprised how much I liked this book.



Transcendent Hindu verses…

Speaking of Siva
Translated by A. K. Ramanujan

This book became an immediate favorite of mine ever since I picked up a copy of it a few years ago. Stunning poems from the Shiva bhakti tradition of India. Basava, Devara Dasimayya, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu. The commentary in the book, though a little academic, is genuinely insightful. Enthusiastically recommended!

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded
Translated by Ranjit Hoskote

There are several translations of the poetry of Lalla available in English now, good ones too, but Ranjit Hoskote’s versions are my favorite. They seem to marry a love of the original language with a poet’s sense of English, without ever losing the mystic’s fire at the center of each poem. Recommended.

And for blessings…

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue

I keep being told by people how much they love this book of poetic blessings from the Irish philosopher, poet, and mystic, John O’Donohue. These poetically crafted blessings and meditations on the passages of life manage to elevate the spirit, warm the heart, and, on occasion, bring a tear to the eye.

For even more book recommendations, click here.


(While this list changes, it seems to get longer every year. Even so, I had to leave off so many amazing books. The drawback to loving so much poetry.)



Let’s remember that, in the midst of winter’s dark, this is the time to renew the light — within ourselves and our world. Regardless of religion, may we recognize our shared brotherhood and sisterhood within the human family, all within the lap of the generous green earth that is our home.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season — and that the new year offers you new pathways and new inspiration!

Ivan

No responses yet

Mar 02 2019

Podcast: Jack Kornfield – Beauty and Poetry

I occasionally listen to Jack Kornfield’s uplifting podcast, Heart Wisdom. Highly recommended for the insight, playfulness, and compassion he brings to spiritual practice.

A few weeks ago, he posted this exploration of how poetry can awaken us to life’s beauty:

Jack Kornfield – Ep. 87 – Uncovering Life’s Beauty with Poetry & Art

No responses yet

Sep 26 2018

Request for Online Book Reviews

If you have a copy of This Dance of Bliss and it’s sparking some thoughts (or some silence) — or if it makes you want to dance — consider posting an online review on your preferred book site, like Good Reads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Online browsers can’t pick a book off the shelf, hold it in their hands, and leaf through its pages. Reviews by other readers is the main way people decide to buy books online. Simply seeing that a number of people cared enough about the book to post a review is often the deciding factor to read more details about it.

Posting your own review online helps the Poetry Chaikhana and it also helps other readers to discover a new favorite book.

No responses yet

Sep 19 2018

Alternatives to Amazon

As a follow-up to my note raising concerns about Amazon’s business practices, several of you contacted me with some promising sites worth exploring. Two sites in particular caught my attention: Wordery and Better World Books. Both are online booksellers and both offer free shipping *worldwide*. Both also contribute a certain amount of their profits and book stock to charities and literacy programs.

They seem to take a little while to add new books to their online catalogs, however. This Dance of Bliss is not yet listed with their sites, but other Poetry Chaikhana publications are listed. I am in contact with them to see if I can facilitate the process of adding the new anthology.

If all continues to look promising, I may soon change the Poetry Chaikhana book links to favor one of these sites (though Poetry Chaikhana books will still remain available through Amazon and other online book sources).

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore these sites yourself. And if you have any feedback about them, please let me know:

Wordery
www.wordery.com

Better World Books
www.betterworldbooks.com

* Also, I should mention that someone sent me information about how, in response to the rising criticism, Amazon’s CEO just donated a very large sum of money to help with homelessness. While the action with most integrity would be to improve his company’s business practices and wage policies, a donation like that is not insignificant. How does that affect your perception of the company?

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

This Dance of Bliss Now Available Everywhere!

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

It’s here! This Dance of Bliss is now publicly available to everyone online through sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For readers outside the US, This Dance of Bliss is now available through international online book sites.

You can also purchase This Dance of Bliss by requesting it through your local independent bookstore.

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger
This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


$16.95
PURCHASE

Barnes & Noble and Amazon
This Dance of Bliss US
 This Dance of Bliss UK This Dance of Bliss CAN This Dance of Bliss IND
or ask at your local independent book store
This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


Read More:
Table of Contents + Introduction + Sample + About the Author

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

Statement about Amazon

Amazon has been in the news lately and rightly criticized for the absurd sums of money claimed by the CEO while many of its employees earn poverty wages and lack basic job security. Amazon is just one of the more notable companies among far too many that have come to embody a brutal and predatory corporate mindset.

But given how ubiquitous Amazon is in the world of online book sales, I have not yet come up with an entirely satisfying alternative that will work for everyone.

I regularly point out that Poetry Chaikhana books are available through other online sources, like Barnes & Noble, but they don’t cater to as many countries around the globe, and the Poetry Chaikhana is a global community.

There is also the more direct approach: I can take orders and ship the books myself, as I have been doing with the recent pre-orders for This Dance of Bliss. That is something I have generally done only for limited periods of time, when I want to offer personally inscribed books. My hesitation to do that on a more regular basis is primarily because I do my Poetry Chaikhana work in my spare time. Poetry Chaikhana publications provide some welcome income, but it is not yet enough to allow me to lessen my commitments to my day job. As many of you are aware, I need to be especially careful with my time and energy because of the chronic fatigue patterns I deal with, so I can’t casually add to my weekly workload. Even so, I am giving this option some serious thought.

One of the most positive ways to purchase Poetry Chaikhana books, in my opinion, is to request them through your local independent bookstore. I receive less of a sales royalty that way, but when you purchase through a neighborhood brick-and-mortar bookstore, you are supporting a local business, you get to chat with interesting people who love books, and it’s an excuse to browse their shelves for other hidden treasures. Bookstores build communities.

If you have other good recommendations, please share them with me. I welcome your suggestions.

2 responses so far

Sep 10 2018

Pre-ordered books on their way…

I have been delightfully overwhelmed by the pre-order response for this latest Poetry Chaikhana anthology. To meet all of your orders, I have been busy for the past two weeks inscribing books, packaging them, and carrying them by the armload to the local post office.

I am pausing for a couple of days to rest and focus on my day job as I wait on a new delivery from the printer before I can send the last few pre-ordered copies out. After that, I will be sending copies to the several people around the globe who generously gave of their time to help with proofreading.

If you pre-ordered an autographed copy of This Dance of Bliss it is on its way to you, or will be very shortly. Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiastic response!

No responses yet

Aug 23 2018

Book Pre-Orders Update

I want to send out a big thank you to everyone for the enthusiastic response to my announcement of the new anthology. Pre-orders for This Dance of Bliss have been coming in from all over the US and the world. I will soon be shipping autographed copies to India, the UK, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Ireland, The Netherlands, Italy, and several other countries.

Your response has been overwhelming, and your many notes of support have touched me deeply. Thank you

The pre-order offer remains available until Sept. 1st. You can purchase and autographed copy of This Dance of Bliss at a discounted rate, while supporting the Poetry Chaikhana and future publications.

To read more and purchase a copy, click here–

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

 

A Note about Shipping Outside the US

Because I am personally inscribing these pre-order copies and mailing them out myself, international shipping rates and times apply.

If the international shipping rates feel prohibitive to you, This Dance of Bliss will also be available in late September through international book sites, like Amazon. The shipping costs from these sites may be less, if they have a location in your area — though the discount will not apply, and you’d be missing out on my lovely autograph!

Kindle Edition

A Kindle ebook version of This Dance of Bliss will be available soon, as well.

No responses yet

Aug 20 2018

Book Announcement: This Dance of Bliss

It’s ready! I am so happy to announce the publication of the latest Poetry Chaikhana anthology:

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

 

This Dance of Bliss is a new collection poems by beloved classical sacred poets along with a few modern visionaries — accompanied by my own thoughts, meditations, personal stories, and commentary.

The new anthology will officially be available in late September through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as by request through your local independent bookstore.

But I wasn’t planning on making you wait that long.

For the Poetry Chaikhana community, I am offering a special pre-order deal on This Dance of Bliss. If your purchase a copy directly through the Poetry Chaikhana before September 1st–

  • You will receive a discounted price of $12.95 (rather than the regular retail price of $16.95 USD)
  • I will personally autograph your copy
  • You will receive a special extra or two, like a Poetry Chaikhana bookmark
  • Most importantly, you will be helping me greatly by making sure we cover initial publication expenses
This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger This Dance of Bliss
Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Pre-Order
before Sept. 1

$12.95
$16.95


PURCHASE
This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!


Available soon through Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
and by request through your local bookseller

 

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.
     ~ MIRABAI STARR, author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


To purchase a special pre-order copy of This Dance of Bliss click here or the ‘Purchase’ link above for payment through PayPal.

     If you prefer to pay by check or money order, you can mail it to:

     Poetry Chaikhana
     PO Box 2320
     Boulder, CO 80306

Shipping and handling: $4.50 US, $7.50 Canada, $12.00 International.
(Payments should be made in US funds to “Poetry Chaikhana.”
And please don’t forget to include your mailing address.)

All pre-order copies will be shipped as soon as they are available, which will be at the beginning of September.

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

 

Here is a small sampling from This Dance of Bliss.

You can read more by clicking here: Read More:
Table of Contents + Introduction + Sample Poems




A hundred flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
the breeze in summer, in winter snow.
When the mind is unclouded,
this is the best season of life.


Wu Men

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A hundred flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
the breeze in summer, in winter snow.

The shifting seasons against the living canvas of the world invite us to notice the cycles of life, how everything flows and changes and returns again. Because the world is filled with life, nothing remains the same. Everything grows and changes and comes around again renewed.

When the mind is unclouded…

Watching that flow, we witness such beauty. But we can only truly see it we let the mind quiet and become clear.

In such moments, a fullness of the soul overwhelms us. We become creatures of silent delight, content and complete in ourselves as we watch the parade of life’s seasons move past, leaving us fully alive in this very moment.

…this is the best season of life.



The sum total of our life is a breath
spent in the company of the Beloved.

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir
English version by Vraje Abramian




I find it intriguing that “breath” and “life” and “spirit” are synonyms in many languages. When you read sacred writings and the word “spirit” is used, substitute the word “breath” and see how the meaning changes and expands.

The relationship between breath, life, and spirit is more profound than the observation that the living breathe and the dead do not.

We think in terms of borders and boundaries, constantly noting what separates ourselves, mentally and physically, from everything else. But the reality is that there is a constant flow of awareness across those borders. Every one of us has the unseen movement of the breath. Through the breath, what is outside comes inside. What is non-self becomes self. And what was self is released again out into the world. This is communion, nothing less.

That inbreath of yours is the outbreath of another. The air we breathe is the breath of all.

A deep breath opens the chest and expands the heart. A full breath requires us to feel. We feel ourselves, and we feel others. Feeling, too, is communion. When feeling is shut down, the breath is shut down, and life has become limited.

The current of the breath continuously teaches us that the boundaries of self exist only in the mental map. In reality, we flow out into the universe, and the universe flows back in. The only way to secure our borders is to stop breathing, which is, of course, death. Life requires breath, and we live in each other, within the same shared breath.

When we really breathe, we might just come to the same conclusion as the poet: An individual’s lifetime may be brief or long, the experiences of life may be lasting or fleeting, but this communal breath-life-spirit in which we participate is the very breath of the Beloved.




Whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises

Rumi
English version by Coleman Barks

 


Ivan M. Granger writes as though God is looking over his shoulder. He inspires appreciation of the literature of awakening as he inspires the reader’s own heart awakening. This anthology features poetic masterpieces from around the world, each one revealing the profound interconnectedness of all things. The comments accompanying each selection are direct and engaging, unfolding layers of meaning, further enhancing the themes of union, interconnection, and non-separation.”
     ~ JERRY KATZ, editor of One: Essential Writings on Nonduality


This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Ivan M. Granger Consider purchasing a pre-order copy of This Dance of Bliss in support of the Poetry Chaikhana!

And thank you to everyone for all of the encouragement and support along the way!

Ivan

2 responses so far

Aug 20 2018

Adventures in Book Publishing

Preparing this book has been a journey. The editing and proofreading of a book always requires more than I anticipate. When I send out the Poetry Chaikhana poem emails, I regularly have a few type-os and misspelled or even missing words. You all know that. That’s frustrating to me when I notice mistakes only after I’ve sent the emails out. I like to tell myself those imperfections add to the charm of the emails, letting you know that it’s a real person sending out these emails, a person who is sometimes so enthusiastic for the material that he doesn’t always reread his own notes carefully before hitting the Send button. But I don’t think I can make the same argument when expanding and preparing that material of publication in a book. Taking that original material and preparing it for book form requires extensive work to edit and proofread the material. (Several volunteers from the Poetry Chaikhana community helped greatly with the final stages of the proofreading – thank you!)

I also have to go through the patient process of acquiring all of the necessary reprint permissions. Yes, it’s true that most of the poems I feature are several centuries old, but the translations are usually recent, and those translations are still under copyright. Many publishers charge a fee to grant reprint permissions, which add up in expense when we are talking about a few dozen poems. When I cannot get the reprint permissions for free, I have to decide if I should no longer include a poem in the collection, after all. In other cases, I create my own translation, tracking down the poem in its original language, and spending days or weeks with the poem. (While frustrating to my planned schedule, this often ends up being the most satisfying path. Translating the poem myself allows me to spend time with it, noticing its subtleties and wordplay that are not always apparent to me in other translations.)

It is not small concern to decide on poem order for the book. I look for a sense of related theme and flow as I turn the pages and move from poem to poem. I found myself spending weeks arranging and rearranging the poems, grouping them one way and then another until they all seemed happy with their immediate neighbors in the book.

I had an adventure tracking down the wonderful cover photo of the Mevlana Sufi dancer dissolving into water as he spins. I found the image online early in the process of designing the cover, but the photographer’s web page was out of date and his contact information was no longer valid. I researched him online and discovered that he was a Turkish photographer who lived and worked in Istanbul, but I couldn’t find recent contact information. Eventually I began to talk with a friend who has designed book covers for other authors to see if he could help with my book cover, since my primary design idea had reached a wall. The price he quoted me for his work, while reasonable, was still beyond my range, however. He then said that maybe he could help with the cover image I had been seeking. I gave him the information I had about the image and the photographer. A few days later he said that the same image was available through a photography clearinghouse website. All I needed to do was to pay a small fee, and I could have commercial reprint permissions for the image, which I gladly did. I never managed to connect with the photographer directly, but his lovely image – both dynamic and meditative – now adorns the cover of This Dance of Bliss. Thank you, wherever you are!

Of course, the cover wasn’t done. I designed the rest of the cover around the image of the Sufi dancer. I had to decide on patterns and framing and colors. Fonts and font sizes had to be selected for the cover. All of the elements had to be placed and repositioning them countless times, until I felt I had a pleasing balance of everything.

Within the manuscript itself, I also had to decide on fonts and formatting. I wanted the fonts to be legible and pleasing to the eye. I also wanted the poems to stand out visually from the commentary text, but not contrast in a way that creates visual harmony. I tried to avoid a regimented placement of the poem on the page. Some poems are short and have room to find the right location on the blank page. A few are mischievous and want align to the right or hide at the bottom. Others are meditative and sit at the center of the page. With the few longer poems, I don’t want to have the page break in the middle of a verse, yet it needs to be visually clear that it is still the same poem that has leisurely taken up residence on several pages. Each poem has a personality and its placement should reflect that.

As the book nears completion, there are several further details necessary for publication. I have to purchase and register the ISBN number, so bookstores can carry it and the new book is recognized by the mainstream world of publishing and book distribution. That ISBN barcode has to be incorporated into the back cover of the book, as well. I have to confirm that the book’s formatting meets the printer’s requirements. After sending the files to the printer, I went through a couple of rounds of having them send me printed proof copies before the last minor issues were resolved.

And here we are! The challenges, unplanned delays, and extra work were all worth it. We now have a new book which I hope will inspire and delight. I am pleased to welcome it into the world!

This Dance of Bliss

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Ivan M. Granger Consider purchasing a pre-order copy of This Dance of Bliss in support of the Poetry Chaikhana!

And thank you to everyone for all of the encouragement and support along the way!

Ivan

No responses yet

Aug 15 2018

New Anthology Almost Ready

I know, I haven’t sent a poem out for the last couple of weeks. The reason is that I have been deep into the final edits on the printed proof of the new Poetry Chaikhana anthology.

The new book will be called This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World. Here’s an advanced glimpse at the cover:

I’m so pleased with how it is coming together. I hope you will be too. Like the previous Poetry Chaikhana anthology, This Dance of Bliss will feature historical sacred poets along with a few contemporary voices. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many other favorites. Each poem is accompanied by the same sort of short meditations, musings, and commentaries you know so well from these emails. I will share more of a sampling from the book soon.

Several of you have already asked about pre-ordering copies of the book and, yes, I will be making this new anthology available for pre-orders very soon. Pre-ordered copies will come with a discount and a few other extras. Stay tuned!

As I bring this new anthology to publication, I may not be able maintain my normal weekly pattern with these poem emails. I am also trying to keep my work hours up at my day job, which is not always an easy balance, so sometimes these poem emails have had to wait. But the new book is very nearly ready — and then we call all join in on this dance of bliss!

One response so far

Aug 08 2018

New Anthology Book Cover

Last week I received the printed proof copy of the new Poetry Chaikhana anthology, and I am now deep into reading it and making final edits to the text.

Here’s an advanced peek at the cover–

3 responses so far

Jul 31 2018

Book Update

I have been very focused on completing the new Poetry Chaikhana anthology. I recently registered the ISBN number for the new book. That’s probably a detail only a publisher finds satisfaction in, but that is one of the last few steps to having a final “official” publication. Printed proof copies are on the way for final review and any last changes. Stay tuned for an official announcement soon!

No responses yet

Jul 05 2018

Poems Once a Week (for now)

I have shifted to a rhythm of sending out poems once a week. Partly this is because I am dedicating more of my available time to completion of the new anthology. The other reason is purely financial. Recently, I shifted over to a new emailing service for these poetry emails. All seems to be going well, and they solved several technical issues that I had dealing with for some time. While their price is reasonable for higher volume of emails, they have an offer that saves considerable expense if I send out these emails once a week.

For both reasons, one email a week makes sense for now. Let me know what you think. Is one poem email per week enough? Or is it worth a bit of extra expense to switch back to several emails per week, once the new anthology is available?

5 responses so far

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