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Poet of the Heart

An exciting new video produced by Haydn Reiss
Review copyright © 1998 by Bert H. Hoff


Rumi: Poet of the Heart (San Anselmo, CA: Magnolia Films, 1998). Order on-line

See this video on PBS - or encourage your local PBS station to air it.
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Book cover
Rumi: Poet of the Heart
a video produced by Haydn Reiss
Order on-line

Check out this other exciting poetry video, William Stafford & Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship.

I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?

Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.

- Rumi

In the late 1990’s the surprising bestselling poet in America is a thirteenth-century Sufi poet and mystic named Jelaluddin Rumi. For seven hundred years, Rumi’s writings have enchanted, inspired, and enlightened Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists. Rumi’s poetry celebrates the sacred in everyday existence and transcends boundaries of time, place, and religion to speak to all people.

Coleman Barks’ The Essential Rumi has sold over 100,000 copies and he is considered the preeminent translator of Rumi today. In 1995, Barks saw filmmaker Haydn Reiss’ documentary William Stafford & Robert Bly:A Literary Friendship and suggested to Reiss that a film about Rumi would be timely.

RUMI: Poet of the Heart features Barks along with poet/translator Robert Bly (who in 1976 encouraged Barks to begin to translate Rumi); author Deepak Chopra, storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade, and religious historian and author of The World’s Religions Huston Smith. Oud virtuoso Hamza El Din and singer Jai Uttal offer inspiring accompaniment to this beautifully produced film. A lively and provocative exploration of the genius and timeliness of Rumi’s emergence in the west.

"At the end of our wanderings there is only the soul’s yearning to return to God. No one speaks that yearning better than Rumi. No one, these days, does Rumi better than Coleman Barks." - Ram Dass

"Perhaps the world’s greatest spiritual poet - the gold of Rumi pours down through Coleman’s words." - Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart

"Through Coleman Barks’ inspired renderings, we tired, modern people have come not only to love Rumi, but even - a little - to love Who and What Rumi himself loved." - Jacob Needleman, author of The Heart of Philosophy and Money and the Meaning of Life


Producer/director Haydn Reiss’ work has aired on PBS and includes ‘Overture: A Conversation with Lotfi Mansouri’, ‘River of Words’ with U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass for the ‘Green Means’ environmental series, and ‘William Stafford & Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship.’ Mr. Reiss was assistant to director Adrian Lyne on the feature ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and assistant to the producer on Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’. Current projects include ‘Watershed: Writers, Nature, and Community’ with Peter Matthiessen, Gary Snyder and Terry Tempest Williams; a contemporary look at the relationship between people and place. Mr. Reiss has received grants from the Lannan Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts for his work.


RUMI: POET OF THE HEART - Why is the bestselling poet in the west today a thirteenth-century Sufi poet and mystic named Jelaluddin Rumi? Transcending boundaries of culture, religion and language, Rumi’s poetry, with its emphasis on the mysteries of love, is reaching deeper into the western psyche. RUMI: POET OF THE HEART looks at why this phenomenon is taking place, who is bringing Rumi’s voice to the west, and presents Rumi’s emergence in a way to reach both the mind and the heart of the viewer. Rumi was also founder of ‘the whirling dervishes’ who’s trancelike ritual dance has influenced western artists such as Phillip Glass and Maurice Bejart.



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