Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design | Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art |-
Here is a short video made while I was Scholar-in Residence at Shangri La in Honolulu in December of 2016. The grounds are the former mansion and guest house of the billionaire art collector Doris Duke, who filled it with Islamic art from the Middle East and Mughal India. Many thanks to Director Konrad Ng, to Bethany Bannister-Andrews, Paige Donnelly and the other amazing staff for their hospitality.
In the video, I speak about the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam poetry that is on the bedroom wall of Doris Duke’s home.
Here is an example of this genre of poetry, my translation:
Into the garden flew a drunken nightingale,
delighting in the cup of wine that was its rose.
It whispered with its mystic voice into my ear:
“Grab hold, since life–once lost–cannot be had again.”
چون بلبل مست راه در بوستان یافت
روی گل و جام باده را خندان یافت
آمد بزبان حال در گوشم گفت
دریاب که عمر رفته را ناتوان یافت
For the earliest collection of verse attributed to Omar Khayyam see my just-published The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A New Translation from the Persian
(NB: the poem above isn’t in this collection– there are lots of such anthologies, and Whinfield favored the late Indian manuscripts.)
Here is what novelist Michael Chabon said about my new book:
- “’To read Juan Cole’s deft, plain-spoken translation of the Rubáiyát is to find companionship, to rejoin a thousand-year human conversation about how to endure, enjoy, and find a fleeting beauty in everlastingly dire times. The lucid, cogent and mind-opening Epilogue is a kind of grace, a gift freely given, from one of our most astonishing and generous intellects.’”
― Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Moonglow (2017)
or Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, who will ship it to you
or Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, who will ship it to you
or Barnes and Noble, who will ship or do curbside delivery.
It is, of course, available wherever fine books are sold and many local bookstores ship books or have curbside service during the quarantine.
Here is what Iranian-American novelist Porochista Khakpour is saying:
“’Omar Khayyam is a Persian treasure and Juan Cole’s new translation brings him anew to Western audiences who for centuries have been both delighted and educated by this medieval sage! Reading The Rubáiyát is a thrill – you feel the echoes of the 12th century seamlessly into our 21st, as this is a holy book of wisdom and magic. In another perilous era for Iranians, it’s wonderful to see this enchanting volume make its way through the world yet again!’” ―Porochista Khakpour, novelist, essayist and author of Brown Album (2020)
Many thanks to her for the kind words!