Radio Rumi



Radio Rumi is hosted by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz at the University of Maryland. Keshavarz is author of award winning books including Reading Mystical Lyric: the Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (USC Press,1998), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (USC Press, 2006) and a book of literary analysis and social commentary titled Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran (UNC Press, 2007). She has also published other books and numerous journal articles. Keshavarz is a published poet in Persian and English and an activist for peace and justice. Currently, she directs the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures as well as Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at UMD. Radio Rumi is a gift to those who wish to taste Rumi's words. The purpose is not to analyze, theorize, or prove anything. These are conversations meant to bring Rumi's poetry to life. Invitations to enter his vibrant universe and see with fresh eyes. Welcome to this exploration Opening song: Arayesh e ghaliz, Homayun Shajarian Producer: Sogand Seirafi Graphic Designer: Amaal Yazdi Editorial Consultant: Faezeh Lotfalian Project Manager: Samar Ata Audio editing: Tommy Hegarty Technical assistance is provided by the Center for Innovation in Teaching at Learning, University of Maryland


  • Radio Rumi Program 51: There are Thieves in Town (1)

    02/02/2021 Duration: 28min

    In this first of a two-part program, I'll take you on the cosmic journey that Rumi plans for his readers. "There are thieves in town," he tells us but who are these thieves, and what do they want? Why does Rumi celebrate their arrival and what does he tell us to do when facing them?

  • Radio Rumi Program 50: The Everlasting is Born Tonight!

    05/01/2021 Duration: 35min

    In this program I explore the concept of "birth" in Rumi's lyric poetry as it applies to the entire cosmos. The convergence of the Winter Solstice, Christmas, and the Iranian Yalda celebrations indicate the symbolic significance of birth in many cultures. What does birth mean to Rumi? How does he put his poetic mark on this universal human experience?

  • Radio Rumi Program 49: Dancing All The Way to the Garden

    26/11/2020 Duration: 33min

    In this program I speak of Rumi’s vision on giving thanks. Describing “patience” and “gratitude” as the twin roads to contentment, Rumi points to our capacity for anticipation as a great source of strength. “The one who has sensed the scent of the rose,” he says ” will dance all the way to the garden.”

  • Radio Rumi Program 48: The City of Light

    15/09/2020 Duration: 31min

    In this episode we stroll through one of Rumi's ghazals with an eye on discovering the vibrancy and glow of this mystical metropolis. In the process we meet a few of its inhabitants some as majestic as Moses, and connect with the core of our own being.

  • Radio Rumi Program 47: Like Strings on a Harp

    17/07/2020 Duration: 35min

    We have all experienced varying levels of isolation in our efforts to slow down a pandemic. In this program I focus on the ways in which Rumi thinks and talks about loneliness and isolation. Was he ever lonely in his own life? What caused it, and how did he speak about it?

  • Radio Rumi Program 46: Sit Close, Let us See each other's Face!

    30/06/2020 Duration: 35min

    In this program, I focus on the concept of trust or "tavakkol" which is a stage in the Sufi spiritual journey. I explore this concept through the lens of Rumi's poetry and as much more than a spiritual necessity. Rather, Rumi views trust as central to our personal and social well-being.

  • Radio Rumi Program 45: Walking around the Pond of Perplexity

    15/06/2020 Duration: 30min

    In this program, I describe the process of inner fulfillment as a journey in which there are no destinations beyond keeping the momentum of moving forward. Using images and ideas from Rumi's lyric poetry, I present Perplexity and wonder -- not clear cut answers - as the fuel for this inner journey of exploration.

  • Radio Rumi Program 44: Be Faster than a Sparrow!

    26/05/2020 Duration: 32min

    Rumi's lyric poetry seems to focus on our inner world of ambitions, joys, fears, and spiritual yearnings. In this program we look outwards and try to see the birds the way Rumi sees them. Not surprisingly, we find the inner and the outer realms to be connected closely.

  • Radio Rumi Program 43: Love is a Dragon

    29/04/2020 Duration: 34min

    I set out to focus this program on the concept of fear. Much to my surprise, I found out that for Rumi the feeling that counters fear is not courage. It is love. And love is obtained by building a mirror-like inner space that...let me leave the rest of that to Rumi. He says it through a fascinating story.

  • Radio Rumi Program42: We Are in This Together

    16/04/2020 Duration: 31min

    I start this program with Rumi's emphasis on the significance of hope in our lives in these days of struggle with a global threat. There are things that we can learn from this pandemic though. Not reducing life to notions of loss and gain, or victory and defeat is one of them. The way Rumi sees it, life is about presence and we are in it as one big global family.

  • Radio Rumi Program 41: The Healing Nowruz Rain

    26/03/2020 Duration: 30min

    The Spring has just arrived. At the same time, the world is in the grips of a pandemic. In this program I look to Rumi for words of wisdom that help us celebrate the arrival of Nowruz "the Persian New Year" and listen to his teachings about illness and healing, ourselves and our world.

  • Radio Rumi Program 40: Words can Harm, and they can Heal

    17/03/2020 Duration: 33min

    Rumi's words have brought us together. What is in his poetic speech that educates, delights, and transforms us? There are many ways to address this question. In this 40th episode of Radio Rumi, I discuss our poet's understanding of the concept of speaking, its impact on our lives, and on those of others around us.

  • Radio Rumi Program 39: Egos that have turned into dragons

    17/02/2020 Duration: 33min

    With the election, politics and power are on our minds, I look at Rumi's understanding of the concept of power and his approach to it. As a well-known and respected figure, Rumi received attention from the wealthy, the noble, and the politically powerful people of his time. How he handled these delicate situations, and what he recommended to his followers are remarkable.

  • Radio Rumi Program 37: I am not a Christian, nor a Jew, nor a Muslim....

    15/01/2020 Duration: 25min

    In light of the recent clashes between my two homes (Iran and America), I dedicate this program to a concept which Rumi values and we need desperately: the concept of oneness of all humanity. Rumi lived in a time burdened by division and disagreement but refused to accept the categories that divided the people of his time.

  • Radio Rumi Program 36: "Merry Christmas: Rumi on Jesus, Light, and Healing"

    02/01/2020 Duration: 32min

    This program is a Christmas special! In it I discuss some of Rumi's poems focused on the presence of light, giving, and healing as embodied in the symbolic person of Jesus. We will see how in these lines light, which for Muslims is a manifestation of the divine, is connected with Jesus as a healer of suffering and one who spreads the force of life.

  • Radio Rumi Program 35: The Rabbit that Danced with the Trees

    10/12/2019 Duration: 32min

    In this episode, recorded right after the Thanksgiving which we recently enjoyed, I focus on Rumi's approach to feeling content and expressing gratitude. I look at the way he defines this foundational concept and its function in our daily lives? We will also look at places in which we can find examples of contentment and learn to express it.

  • Radio Rumi Program 34: It is a Rainy Day, I Clap my Hands

    25/11/2019 Duration: 34min

    In this program, I focus on the best ways to understand Rumi's poetry. One of my goals is to counter the idea of turning him into an infallible saint. Equally important, poets from distant times and unfamiliar traditions are hard to understand. I make suggestions about ways to put Rumi's lively and effective poetry into their context to become understandable to western audiences in the 21st century.

  • Radio Rumi Program 33: Dreaming of that Simple Dance

    12/11/2019 Duration: 26min

    In this program, I focus on a celebrated poem of Rumi which tries to help us make sense of the journey that is our life. The poem is filled with enchanting images and life-changing questions. Are we a rare bird sitting in the royal aviary, Jacob separated from his Joseph, or the Greek philosopher, lamp in hand, looking for a perfect being? And, what does dancing have to do with these?

  • Radio Rumi Program 32: Be a Waterfall, Always Arriving!

    28/10/2019 Duration: 30min

    In this program I speak about Rumi's special's attention to the concept of arriving. Like many other thinkers, Rumi is aware of our human limitations. For example, we are confined in time and space. His solution? Do not wait for the moments to happen to you; arrive in them and let the arrival transform both time and space for you, be a waterfall!

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