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Jul 8

Conversations with Rumi: Poetry Workshop with Haleh Liza Gafori

July 8, 2023 @ 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

The 13th century mystic and sage Rumi was dedicated to unshackling his mind, opening his heart, and accessing deeper levels of serenity, compassion, and generosity. Inducing ecstatic illumination and liberation in listeners, his poetry has been sought by readers across the world, returning to his text for inspiration and nourishment.

In this workshop in the beautiful gardens of the Green River Bridge Inn, we will read new translations of Rumi’s poetry from the book GOLD and dialogue using excerpts as prompts for discussion and for our own writing. We’ll hear excerpts in Persian, unpack Sufi terms that have no one-to-one exquivalent in English, and explore the wise, confessional, and sometimes humorous messages and imagery that pervade his poems. Through our discussions and writing, we’ll see how his insights on love, ego-death, mortality, generosity, greed, and compassion dialogue with our lives and our times.

Haleh Liza Gafori is a translator, vocalist, poet, and educator born in New York City of Iranian/Persian descent. She grew up hearing recitations of Persian poetry and has maintained and deepened her connection through singing and translating the poetry of various Persian poets. A bicultural woman with ears tuned to American poetry as well as to the subtleties of the Persian language, Gafori aims to transmit the whirling movement and leaping progression of thought and imagery in Rumi’s poems into the music of contemporary American poetry. Gafori believes his words offer liberating and nourishing perspectives vital to our times, inviting us into deeper levels of compassion and generosity. Sharing her passion for the Rumi’s poetry and philosophy, she recently published the book, GOLD, translations of poems by Rumi, the 13th century sage and mystic and has taught classes at universities, festivals, and institutions including Stanford University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Swarthmore College, and Omega Institute.

Gafori’s own work has been published by Columbia University Press, is forthcoming in the Harvard Review, and has been featured on Literary Hub, The Marginalian, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. She has shared her poetry and translations at various venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fetzer Institute’s Gathering on Love and Forgiveness, Bowery Poetry Club, and Verses of Hope hosted by the Marginalian, formerly Brainpickings. She has worked as a teaching artist through City Lore in NYC and offered weekly presentations on private tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rubin Museum of Art between 2015 and 2019. Gafori received her BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and her MFA in creative writing from CCNY where she completed a thesis of original poems as well as translations of the Persian poets such as Sohrab Sepehri and Omran Salahi for which she received an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Goodman Grant for Poetry. For the poetry journal Rattapallax, Gafori served as a guest editor for a section on New Persian Poetry.

Gafori is currently working on a cross-media performance piece, also entitled GOLD, weaving translations from the book, original musical compositions, and stories. The development of the piece is supported by a grant from The New York State Council of the Arts and the first work-in-progress performance was presented at The New York Public Library for World Heritage Month.



July 8, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM