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Reading Rumi is a 2010-11 initiative promoting the study of Persian Language Arts at Northern Illinois University. 

Supported by a grant from the PARSA Community Foundation, Reading Rumi features extra-curricular seminars, lectures and public readings, encouraging student engagement with classical Persian verse. 

Dedicated to one of the world's great authors of lyric verse - Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) - our readings during 2010-11 will be organized thematically around metaphors of seasonal change, exploring the rich heritage of Rumi’s writings through the lens of the yearly cycle.

For comments and queries regarding Reading Rumi, please contact Dr. Einboden at einboden@niu.edu.


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.  


Dr. EinbodenJeffrey Einboden is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Northern Illinois University. 

A specialist in early American Literature and Middle Eastern translation, Einboden received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 2005, exploring R.W. Emerson’s renditions of Persian poetry – research which has recently culminated in his own book-length translation of the Persian poet, Muḥammad Shamsuddīn Ḥāfiẓ: The Tangled Braid: Ninety-Nine Poems by Hafiz of Shiraz (Fons Vitae, 2009; co-authored with John Slater).  

Einboden’s research concerning Middle Eastern translation and the Western canon has also appeared in journals such as Middle Eastern Literatures, the Journal of Qur’anic Studies, Translation & Literature, Milton Quarterly, Nathaniel Hawthorne Review and Literature & Theology.

For comments and queries regarding Reading Rumi, please contact Dr. Einboden at einboden@niu.edu.