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Latif Bolat and Jennifer Ferraro have been working on ancient Turkish Mystic poetry translations for several years. As a result of this work, they put together a wonderful collection of Turkish mystic poems from 13th century to the present titled "Quarelling With God". This book is available NOW! Please send a e-mail request to the following e-mail address or ask your favorite bookstore to order:

Quarreling With God:
Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey
Translated by Jennifer Ferraro & Latif Bolat

"Quarreling with God represents a real breakthrough for the publication of Sufi poetry. Here are the unheard voices of the mystical poets of the Turkish Bektashi tradition, a tradition that influenced Jelaluddin Rumi and that also remains one of the most vibrant , independent and passionate in living Sufism today. In clear and elegant translations, the authors unleash the wild voices of these mystics for us, as they sing about love, relationship and the purpose of life."

~Neil Douglass- Klotz, PhD, author of Desert Wisdom: Sacred Middle Eastern Writings from the Goddess through the Sufis

This collection presents, for the first time in English, a compilation of seven centuries of the mystic hymns of Turkey 's rebellious Sufi poets; the popular folk counterparts to Rumi whose poems are characterized by a passionate and unorthodox commitment to Truth. At the time Rumi was writing in ancient Anatolia, many other great mystics in the region were also composing wild, ecstatic and controversial poems which were circulated among the common people as spiritual songs called nefes and illahis which are still played and sung today in sacred dervish ceremonies and gatherings. These poems were meant to swiftly and easily penetrate the heart of the spiritual aspirant whether educated or uneducated, and awaken the human heart to its divine inheritance. The poems present a spiritual tradition from the Islamic world which bravely challenged orthodox religion and emphasized universal mystical love and tolerance.

"We are truly grateful to Latif Bolat and Jennifer Ferraro for offering us a rare glimpse into the universe of Anatolian Sufi poetry. It is a joy to be in the company of the friends of the Friend. Their songs resonate through the centuries."

~Kabir Helminski, Sufi Shaikh, translator and author of Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self

Translations and introduction from the Turkish by poet, artist and performer, JENNIFER FERRARO and LATIF BOLAT, the most renowned Turkish musician & scholar of traditional Turkish Sufi music in America.

All rights reserved by Jennifer Ferraro and Latif Bolat © 2006


Niyaz-i- Misri (1618-1694)

Now No Trace Remains

I thought that in this whole world
    no beloved for me remained;

Then I left myself-
    now no stranger in this world remains .

I would see in every object a thorn
     but never a rose-

the universe became a rose garden-
     not a single thorn remains.

Day and night my heart
    was moaning "Ahhh!"

I don't know how it happened-
    no "Ahhh" in me remains.

Duality went, Unity came;
     I met with the Friend in private;

The multitude left, the One came-
    only the One remains.

Religion, piety, custom, reputation-
    these used to matter greatly to me.

O Niyazi, what has happened to you?
    No trace of religion now remains.

Nesimi (15th c.)

What of It

I myself took up the cloak of blame;
I smashed the bottle of honor and virtue on a stone,
     what of it ?

Sometimes I rise up and watch the universe from above,
sometimes I go down to earth and lose myself in love,
     what of it ?

Sometimes I study life's meaning in the holy books,
sometimes I go to the tavern and get drunk,
     what of it ?

Sometimes I enter my garden to pick roses for my darling;
I grew those roses and I gathered them,
     what of it ?

The wine of this love is a sin, the orthodox think--
The sin is mine, I fill my glass and drink,
     what of it ?

The pious bow to the niche in the mosque
I bow at the Beloved's doorstep, pressing my face up close,
     what of it ?

My enemy says loving beauty is sinful.
I love my beloved so I'll gladly pay that price,
     what of it ?

They ask Nesimi,
are you and your beloved getting along?
Whether we get along or not' my Beloved is mine,
     what of it ?

About the Authors

Jennifer Ferraro
A poet, artist, and performer, Jennifer Ferraro teaches poetry and writing at universities and presents poetry as a sacred art incorporating music, dance and ritual. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in writing and literature from the New School for Social Research and the University of New Mexico. Author of the book of poems Divine Nostalgia (2002), her poetry is concerned with articulating the spiritual and cultural dilemmas and longings of our time. She has toured widely with the Latif Bolat Ensemble, playing frame drum and reciting poetry and has co-created and directed multimedia performances combining poetry with music and devoitional dance. She is currently writing a book about the relationship of poetry, soul and beauty in our culture. She is a student of the Sufi path, and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Latif Bolat
One of the most distinguished Turkish musicians in the United States, Latif Bolat has presented traditional Turkish mystic music, poetry and traditions across the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Bulgaria, Turkey, Indonesia, Ireland, Canada, Philippines and elsewhere. Determined to preserve the beauty of Turkey's cultural traditions in the face of globalization, he is a modern troubadour carrying the art of the traditional Turkish asik (troubadour) around the world. His professional credits include providing soundtrack music for George Lucas Studio's TV series Young Indiana Jones and the PBS documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. A native of the Turkish Mediterranean city of Mersin, he has degrees in folklore and music, and advanced degrees in Turkish history and political science from Ankara University as well as an MBA from San Francisco State University. Many of the traditional songs in this collection can be found on his four released CDs. He also leads popular cultural tours to Turkey several times a year. For more information, visit Latif Bolat's web site at:

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