Last night I was fooling around with tools I hadn’t really used before on WordPress, and I decided I’d try the poll function. There are still plenty of Rubá’iyát to continue the “Rubá’í of the Day” series for at least another year. As I’ve mentioned before, though, I’m pondering what (if anything) to replace it with when it eventually completes its run. I have some ideas, but reader feedback would be helpful. It’s also a good excuse to experiment with polls, so what the heck!
In this post, I’ll give a brief description of the possible alternatives I’m thinking about. Next post will be the actual poll. Remember, it has to be something available in the public domain (thus, printed before 1923, at the present time)–I don’t want issues with copyright. A brief description of possible options I’m looking at is below the cut.
Hafiz (Khāwaja Shamsu Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī), Iranian Sufi poet who lived in the 14th Century. Omar Khayyám, patron of this blog, is far and away the best-known Persian (Iranian) poet in the English-speaking world, because of Fitzgerald’s famous translation; but in Iran, Hafiz is considered the greatest Persian lyric poet, writing poems dealing with love, society, and faith. He is especially known for writing in the ghazal format. Unlike Khayyám, who published little if any poetry publicly during his lifetime (probably out of concern for repercussions of his unorthodox views), Hafiz published large amounts, and was well-known and highly lauded throughout the Islamic world during his lifetime. The two also differed in that whereas Khayyám always tended towards skepticism and cynicism, Hafez was more orthodox and of a mystic bent.
Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī Rūmī), also an Iranian Sufi poet (though born in Turkey). Like Hafez, Rumi was a Sufi. In fact, he was the founder of the still-extant Mevlevi Sufi order. Rumi is best known for his magnum opus, the Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, though he published many other works, as well. ”Translators” such as Coleman Barks have made Rumi quite popular; but as with any other poetry I’ll ever post here, I will cleave strictly to actual translations, not “interpretations”.
Kabir, 5th Century mystic poet of Northern India. Kabir was part of the Sant movement in which mystics, poets, and seekers worked to find a common spirituality transcending the various religious divisions of India at that time. Kabir was born into a Muslim family but later renounced allegiance to any one faith. He is revered by Muslims and Hindus both, and some of his verses found their way into the holy book of Sikhism, the Guru Grant Sahib.
Walt Whitman, one of the first proponents of what later came to be called free verse. He’s not in the very top echelon of my personal favorite poets, but over the years he has grown on me. Certainly I think his verse would be worthy of posting.
Edgar Lee Masters, another proponent of free verse. He is best known for Spoon River Anthology. This set of poems consists of the epitaphs of various residents of the fictional town of Spoon River. The epitaphs are actually commentary framed as if spoken from the grave, giving each individual a chance to comment, grip, mourn, or discuss his or her life. It’s one of my favorite pieces of poetry. It would also be well-suited to the poem-a-day format, since there are 244 poems in the collection, and they are all relatively short.
Finally, I am open to any and all suggestions, whether or not they are on the above list. Remember, it has to be something in the public domain. The next post is the poll–I look forward to hearing from you!