The Conference of the Birds

The Conference of the Birds


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393355543
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 581,630
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-American poet and writer. The author of more than ten books of poems, translations, and anthologies, she is the recipient of a PEN/Heim grant, the Midwest Book Award, and the Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, among others. Wolpé lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Foreword 9

Introduction 11

Acknowledgments 25

The Birds of the World Gather 27

The Birds Confer and Make Excuses 39

The Birds Prepare for the Journey 81

The Birds Begin the Journey 107

The Birds Complain and Boast 119

The Birds Voice Their Fears 163

The Birds Ask About the Beloved 185

The Seven Valleys 249

The Journey of the Birds 321

Epilogue 345

Appendix: Correspondences Between This Translation and the Lines of the Persian Original 367

Bibliography 377

What People are Saying About This

Coleman Barks

Attar, along with Chaucer and Dante, is a great genius of community and how that involves the path toward enlightenment. We are these bird-beings searching for the source of what we are together.

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The Conference of the Birds (Penguin Classics edition) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
BookHound More than 1 year ago
Exquisite. Life-changing. Must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not buy this on Nook. It is the wrong work and sadly there is nothing to do about it. The paperback and the Nook version are not the same thing so make sure of what you need. I will not be buying from Barnes and Noble again since this is not the first time this has happened.
theageofsilt on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This remarkedly long poem was composed in Iran around 1150 AD. It is a metaphor for the challenges the soul faces into seeking unity with God. The birds set out on a quest to meet their king, the Simorgh bird. I found the poem rambling with too many parables from history and culture of the day. It certainly didn't have the dramatic focus of Homer.
Neutiquam_Erro on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The writings of the Sufis are, without a doubt, some of the most beautiful and challenging spiritual works in existence. Rumi's works are currently undergoing something of a renaissance in the Western world but the name of Farid Ud-Din Attar is not as well known. This is unfortunate, since The Conference of the Birds provides, in my opinion, a much better insight into Sufi philosophy than the bits and pieces of Rumi floating about the New Age universe.Attar's beautiful descriptions, exquisite metaphors and delightful parables describe the stages on the soul's journey to union with God. An extended metaphor for the soul, the birds gather and travel through various valleys to reach the Simorgh - a state of ecstatic oneness with deity. The Hoopoe acts as the guide and provides answers to the bird's questions and doubts about the journey - usually with short illustrative tales. These tales are each tiny drops of gold, the longest being only a few hundred lines. The overarching theme is the denial of the self to gain ultimate bliss. This is no intellectual exercise and much of the advice given is shocking and revolutionary. In the extended tale of Sheik Sam'an, the Sheik leaves his faith and becomes a Christian for the love of a woman who ultimately spurns him. His apostasy and depravity astound his followers who swiftly abandon him. A Sufi teacher chastises them for their lack of faith and eventually they return to his side. Sam'an then reconverts and his love is converted too. The message would seem to be that to find God it may be necessary to abandon conventional notions of behaviour and faith and plunge forward with wild abandon, losing the self. Some of the stories may shock our sensibilities, and no doubt had the same effect on Attar's medieval audiences. A kind of counter-culture attitude is displayed in the book, with tales of romantic love between men and other "un-Islamic" behaviours challenging accepted norms.As to the book itself, the translation is done in "heroic couplets" which according to the introduction, best suits the style of the arabic original. It at first seems a little stilted but soon lends a beauty of its own to the work. A fairly substantial introduction helps put the book in context and describes what is known of Attar's life and times. A biographical index is included which provides details on the many characters - often historical - who people the pages of the poem. This book is a beautiful little gem, filled with a lot of wisdom. It is definitely worth the read for members of any faith, even those who aren't practicing Sufis.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Collectively a wonderful composition of variety, strength and meaning.