Overview & Rationale

Reading Rumi: Seasons of Persian Verse offers an introduction to this rich literary heritage for students at Northern Illinois University, cultivating fresh arenas and audiences for the study of Persian poetry.  

Attuned and adapted to the seasonal cycle and regional character of Northern Illinois, our seminars will be innovative in relating Rumi’s canon to geographic and cultural frontiers seemingly remote from its historical origins, emphasizing aspects of Rumi’s verse that transcend the specificities of time and place.  

Reflecting a transnational and cross-cultural approach, Reading Rumi seeks also to expand our own interpretive boundaries and perspectives, relocating our study of poetry at NIU within a global frame.  The seminar series is motivated, in particular, by an effort to discover and develop authentic points of contact between Persian literatures and American readerships.  Extending Einboden’s doctoral work on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s campaign of Sufi verse translation (University of Cambridge, 2005), Reading Rumi recognizes Persian poetry as a vital intersection in American literary history, essential not only to our broader understanding of emergent global culture, but also to the development of our own national tradition.