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Brad Gooch, Rumi's Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love

- Fully Registered

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 6:30 PM
| Open to the Public | Members' Room | $15 per person | Advance registration required

The New York Times bestselling biographer of Flannery O’Connor and Frank O’Hara delivers the first popular book on the life of the revered medieval Persian poet Rumi.

Ecstatic love poems of Rumi, a poet and Sufi mystic born over eight centuries ago, are beloved by millions of readers around the world. He has been compared to Shakespeare for his outpouring of creativity and to Saint Francis of Assisi for his spiritual wisdom. Yet his life has long remained the stuff of legend rather than intimate knowledge.

In this breakthrough biography, Brad Gooch brilliantly brings to life the man and puts a face to the name Rumi, vividly coloring in his time and place. The map of Rumi’s life stretched over 2,500 miles. Gooch traces this epic journey from his birthplace in Central Asia to Konya, Turkey, where his family settled after displacement by Mongol terror. Pivotal was the disruptive appearance of Shams of Tabriz, who taught him to whirl and transformed him from a respectable Muslim preacher into a poet and mystic. Their vital connection as teacher and pupil, friend and beloved, is one of the world’s greatest spiritual love stories. When Shams disappeared, Rumi coped with the pain of separation by composing joyous poems of reunion, both human and divine.

Ambitious, bold, and beautifully written, Rumi’s Secret reveals the unfolding of Rumi’s devotion to a “religion of love,” remarkable in his own time and made even more relevant for the twenty-first century by this compelling account.

Brad Gooch is the author of the acclaimed biographies City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, as well as Smash Cut: A Memoir of Howard & Art in the ‘70s and ‘80s, other nonfiction, and three novels. The recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is professor of English at William Paterson University.

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