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Sat, Jul 08


Green River Bridge Inn

Conversations with Rumi: Interactive Poetry Workshop with Haleh Liza Gafori

The 13th century mystic Rumi was dedicated to unshackling his mind, opening his heart, and accessing deeper levels of serenity, compassion, and generosity. In this workshop, we will read translations of Rumi’s poetry, hear excerpts in Persian and explore his insights as prompts for our own writing.

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Conversations with Rumi: Interactive Poetry Workshop with Haleh Liza Gafori
Conversations with Rumi: Interactive Poetry Workshop with Haleh Liza Gafori

Time & Location

Jul 08, 2023, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Green River Bridge Inn, 2435 Stage Rd, Guilford, VT 05301, USA

About the event

Join us July 7th-8th for the Transcendence: Multidisciplinary Artists Salon 2023. A weekend of performance, visual art, readings, creative workshops, artist talks and more. This series was made possible by support from Vermont Humanities Council and the Town Arts Fund. This interactive workshop will be conducted outdoors in the tranquil gardens of the Green River Bridge Inn in Guilford Vermont. Please carpool when possible and bring a bathing suit to enjoy swimming in the beautiful waterfall afterwards! Spaces are limited, we recommend reserving in advance. Locally-sourced refreshments will be provided.

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, we will read new translations of Rumi’s poetry from the book GOLD and dialogue with the poem, 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.

Of her teaching, a former workshop participant reflected, “Within five minutes of Haleh Liza Gafori’s workshop on The Insight of Rumi I knew our time together was going to be special. I was not prepared, however, for the transformational experience that unfolded for me over the three days we spent exploring the wisdom of Rumi. Haleh’s extraordinary insight into the truths embodied in Rumi’s poetry contributed to one of the most revelatory and emotionally positive experiences I have ever had. Drawing on her intimate knowledge of both Persian and Western language and cultures, interspersed with recitation, chant and music, Haleh took us on a journey of profound passion and inspiration. I came away infused with a desire to pass through this world in a more enlightened and meaningful way.”

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.


  • Conversations with Rumi

    Admission for one to Conversations with Rumi: Interactive Poetry Workshop in the beautiful gardens of The Green River Bridge Inn in Guilford Vermont. Refreshments will be provided. Please let us know if you require special arrangements. In the case of rain or uncomfortable temperature, the event will be moved indoors at the Inn. Thank you for your support! Enjoy the experience!

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  • Sliding-Scale Ticket

    In order to make this program accessible for all, we are offering tickets to the Multidisciplinary Artist Salon by sliding scale. Taking equity and inclusion into account, please pay what you can to help support the artists and venue. We recommend carpooling when possible and to bring a bathing suit to enjoy swimming in the waterfall after the workshop!

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  • Support for Future Events

    I would like to add a donation to my ticket to express my support and appreciation of the adventurous and intellectually-engaging programs at Epsilon Spires. Thank you & keep up the good work!

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