Juan Cole is interviewed by Myriam Sabbaghi of the National Iranian American Council:
- “We are living in an era of plague, economic depression, and civil unrest. We worry about our loved ones every day as tensions between the US and Iran increase, and coronavirus magnifies the impacts of US sanctions. In this context, what are the everlasting implications of multiple crises happening at the same time? What role does poetry in particular play in expressing these themes and our feelings?
To explore these questions, the National Iranian American Council Chicago hosted a virtual book talk with Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Watch the recording to hear Professor Cole read from his new translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” and draw connections with current circumstances.”
A poem from my translation insists that if we do good or adopt a spiritual path, it should be for its own sake and not out of fear or an incentive.
In monasteries, temples and retreats
they fear hellfire and look for paradise.
But those who know the mysteries of God
don’t let those seeds be planted in their hearts
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
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!