Letter 8 - Rumi


Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet, Hanafi faqih, Islamic scholar, Maturidi theologian, and Sufi mystic.

Born on September 30, 1207, in Balkh (modern-day Afghanistan or present-day Tajikistan), Rumi's family later moved to Samarkand. Rumi was influenced by Persian poets and his father, a theologian, jurist and a mystic from Wakhsh.  He produced a collection of notable works, including Masnavi, considered to be one of the greatest Persian poems.  His poetry not only shaped Persian literature but also influenced Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Pashto, Kurdish, Urdu, and Bengali literary traditions.

Rumi's popularity remains widespread. He is often referred to as the "most popular poet" and is particularly revered in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and South Asia. In the United States, he is hailed as the "best-selling poet." His works have been translated from Persian into numerous languages and adapted into various formats. 

Rumi's life ended in 1273 AD, and he was buried in Konya, where his shrine became a place of pilgrimage. Following his death, his followers established the Mevlevi Order, known for the Sufi dance called the Sama ceremony. Though legends and facts coexist in accounts of Rumi's life, his enduring legacy as a poet and mystic continues to captivate readers and followers worldwide.

William Ricketts

William Ricketts was an Australian potter born in Richmond, Victoria, in 1898, he settled permanently in Mount Dandenong in 1934. Although he was not formally trained as a potter, his visionary artworks conveyed a message of a modern Australia embracing Aboriginal spirituality and respect for the natural world.  Ricketts' artistic journey included violin playing, jewelry crafting, and clay modeling. His major project, the William Ricketts Sanctuary, commenced in 1934 and continued until his death in 1993.

His major works include "Dromana", located in Seawinds Garden at Arthur's Seat, and "Gun Brute" held at the William Ricketts Sanctuary. Many smaller pieces are housed in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, and photos of his works are preserved in Australia's libraries.

Despite financial struggles, Ricketts supported himself through commissioned sales and gifted many original signed small pieces.  These are now sought after in private collections.  From 1949 to 1960, he lived amongst the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal Australians in Central Australia, whose traditions influenced his work. Ricketts was not of Aboriginal descent, but considered himself adopted by the Pitjantjatjara nation.  He left many sculptures in central Australia, particularly at Pitchi Richi.

William Ricketts claimed a divine calling to defend the Aboriginal people and the continent, comparing his environmental distress to the suffering of the Aboriginal People. His artistic contributions reflect a journey shaped by a deep connection to nature, and a spiritual empathy with the Aboriginal culture whose traditions influenced his work. 

 References and Further Reading

  • Rumi. Wikipedia.
  • William Rickets. Wikipedia.