The Sufi mystic Rumi has sold more than half a million volumes of his poetry-no small feat, considering that he lived in the 13th century. In this collection, poet Coleman Barks offers a funny, iconoclastic preface in which he attempts to tease out the reasons for Rumi's contemporary renaissance. He also warns readers that what follows will not be a pretty, happy book of love poetry: "This is not Norman Vincent Peale urging cheerfulness, conventional morality, and soft-focus, white-light, feel-good...New Age tantric energy exchange. This is giving your life to the one within that you know as LORD, which is a totally private matter." Rumi, he writes, is not the stuff of greeting cards. The poetry, accessibly translated and arranged by Barks, is organized by loose themes such as love's discipline, the new life with the beloved, "sudden wholeness," and love's excess.