I Fell Hard for Daniel Ladinsky: Correction

I published a piece in Elephant Journal last week while in puppy love with Hafiz.

Or who I thought was Hafiz.

A correction and explanation is in order but it’s rather complicated.

Back story

I’d been on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. My hostess left out a book by the bedside. It was a book of Hafiz poems. The books wasn’t mine but I loved the poems, copied several in my journal and shared those and my falling in love here.

I didn’t note the book title or the translator because I didn’t have the book and wasn’t worried about copyright as I knew Hafiz was a 14th century poet.

Instead of I Fell Hard for Hafiz I should have written I Fell Hard for Hafiz as translated by H. Wilberforce Clarke (and perhaps others) and subsequently channeled, dreamed and in mystic partnership with Daniel Ladinsky.

Longer, not as catchy but more accurate.

It was not the 14th century Persian poet I fell for – I don’t think.

It was Daniel Ladinsky, I think, who renders the work of Hafiz.

Ladinksy is an incredible writer. I’m in awe of the wisdom in and the lyrical quality of his work.

My friend Kathy and I sat like teenagers reading his words out loud to each other last night from the floor of a bookstore.  We were there because I was trying to understand the relationship between Hafiz and Ladinky.

Kathy and I are both writers and we didn’t understand the role of translator vs. author vs. renderer. Also, I was trying to determine how much of Hafiz was in Ladinsky’s work or how much of Ladinsky is in Hafiz.

You know – whoever I fell in love with.

I’m still not clear.219

How can a poem attributed to Hafiz and said to be by Hafiz need copyright from someone else?

Hafiz cant give copyright permission. He’s dead. But his work is alive and being shared by Ladinsky who is channeling it somehow. This makes him a translator, though not technically in terms of translating language. Translators get copyright.

So copyright goes to Ladinksy.

I’m happy to correct a copyright mistake .

But I’m still not sure it’s as simple as that.

If Ladinksy is the author and not Hafiz why is Hafiz in the title and said to be the author?

If Hafiz is not the author and only inspired Ladinsky why aren’t the books sold as Ladinsky poems?

I’m not the only one confused or debating this issue.  See the comments from The Gift on Amazon which include comments (and high praise) for MANY people including Ladinksy himself.  Ladinsky also made comments in an exchange with me when the Elephant Journal came out.

I wish I knew which part of the words I love belong to Hafiz.

I feel like I perpetuated a lie by writing I Fell Hard for Hafiz.

But it doesn’t just feel like a mistake but as though I was supposed to very much believe I was reading the words of Hafiz.

I was made to believe he was the author because on books it says he is the author. I mean even on Amazon it says he’s the author. It doesn’t say who gets royalties or book sales. I’m guessing it isn’t Hafiz.

Without the Hafiz name – would the sales be different?

I’m guessing even in my tiny little corner of the world “I fell hard for Ladinsky” would not have been as popular at Elephant Journal as “I fell hard for Hafiz” was.

Who can say?

Do I cry, apologize or admire Ladinksy’s genius marketing?

I feel a like the lover who thought she had a date with an available dude only to find out he’s married. Then he says, “No, it’s o.k. because it’s an open marriage” but that sort of changes things. Plus, his partner doesn’t know –  it’s only open to him.

Were enjoyable nights still had, metaphorically speaking? Yes? But does context change reality some? Yes.

I’ve rarely been as moved by any writing as I was by Ladinksy’s. I’ll continue reading him but I won’t be thinking I’m reading Hafiz.

I’m starting to grasp the legal, literary and literal difference between a work being rendered, authored or translated.

Ladinsky seems like an amazing, interesting and talented writer drawn to, inspired by and professionally devoted to sharing his renderings of Hafiz as he has done for two-plus decades. I don’t doubt he feels connected to Hafiz or that his work is inspiring to many and inspired by Hafiz.

I’ve read he was inspired by his Hafiz and has communicated via dreams with Hafiz. How can I prove or disprove that? Why would I want to? I can’t know if Ladinksy and Hafiz are soul twinning, connecting on a mystical level or are total strangers yet kindred spirits. Anything is possible.

I also don’t understand why or how Hafiz can be said to be the author of words he didn’t write.


I don’t understand how Ladinsky can be said to translator of words he didn’t translate but wrote.

The closer I look and the more research I do – the more dust and fog and haze I see.

Perhaps in another life I will be less literal and just be joyful to be touched by words. Maybe Hafiz will come to me in a dream and clarify.

In this life, I care if a book by Hafiz is actually by Hafiz.

My heart stretched open. But my head hurts. I feel tricked because I thought I fell hard for Hafiz but I actually fell hard for another man.




You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
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  1. Thank you for this. I’m equally confused. Have you had any further clarity? When I quote from this person / writing who do I attribute to? I happen to love Ladinsky (I heard him in an interview and he completely stole my heart) but this is a tricky situation!

    • I don’t have complete clarity. I look at the book where I’m quoting from. But many places quote both Rumi and Hafiz and don’t mention the translators. We are not the only ones who are confused.


  1. […] I Fell Hard for Daniel Ladinky as it relates to this piece and original correspondence from him following the Elephant Journal I […]

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