Daniel Moore (poet)

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Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore (born July 30, 1940, in Oakland, California, USA) is a U.S. poet, essayist and librettist. In 1970 he embraced the Sufic tradition of Islam and changed his name to Abdal-Hayy (eventually merging it with his birth-name).[1] Since then he has created works such as Ramadan Sonnets (1996) and The Blind Beekeeper (2002). In early adulthood Moore traveled widely, living in Morocco, Spain, Algeria, and Nigeria as well as in Santa Barbara in the United States.[2] In 1990 he moved his family to the American city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, where they still reside and where he is active in local literary and spiritual activities.[3]

Early career and conversion[edit]

His first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. As recompense for publishing. Ferlinghetti insisted Moore do oil paintings on a large number of Dawn Vision books that Fertlinghetti wished to present to friends. Manuscripts of these poems won the Ina Coolbrith Award for poetry and the James D. Phelan Award. From 1966 to 1969, Moore wrote and directed ritual theater for his Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in Berkeley, California. City Lights also published his second book, Burnt Heart: Ode to the War Dead, in 1972.

In 1965, Moore lived in Boston's North End and worked at odd jobs to sustain himself and his wife of that time. He appeared on the radio reading his poems, and translated essays by Antonin Artaud, under the tutelage of his friend, poet and editor, David Rattray. He was also acquainted with the Boston poet John Wieners. He returned to San Francisco, and then to Mexico, where he suffered a serious car accident and was bedridden for a month and a half with a broken pelvis and chipped socket of his right elbow. Returning to Berkeley, he became involved in the cultural world of that time, and inspired one night by the very name that came to him, The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, and sensing a visionary need to bring his poetry into a spatial and theatrical dimension, he inaugurated the sacred theater company. At this juncture in American cultural history, the so-called literary and drug-culture of San Francisco became increasingly energized in the climate of the anti-war movement. He wrote and directed two major productions which were presented at night (with few exceptions) by torchlight in an outdoor amphitheater in North Berkeley, at Hinkel Park, and attended by large numbers of people, always free of charge (a book of the texts and photographs is in preparation for publication as of 2010).

In 1970, about six months after the disbanding of The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, Moore met Ian Dallas, aka Abdal-Qadir Shaykh Dr. Abdal-Qadir as-Sufi in Berkeley, and entered Islam in the Sufi Shadhiliyya Tariqat of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, of which Abdal-Qadir was then the muqaddem, or deputy. Moore was given the name Abd al-Hayy, and began traveling extensively in Europe and North Africa, living for a time in Nigeria, and in Andalusia, Spain, where he was a participant in the Islamic Renaissance there in the mid and late 70s, a movement that is still growing today (2009). He also spent time with his family in Blanco, Texas, in the community of Shaykh Fadhlallah Haeri and Imam Da'ud, but left it with his family and moved to Santa Barbara, California.

Regarding Moore's poetic work, Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote of this period: “Moore [became] a Sufi and, like Rimbaud, renounced written poetry.” But after ten years of not writing while traveling and under the tutelage of Shaykh Abdal-Qadir, Moore “renounced” his renunciation and published three books of poetry in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980s: The Desert is the Only Way Out, The Chronicles of Akhira, and Halley's Comet. He also organized poetry-readings for the Santa Barbara Arts Festivals and wrote the libretto for a commissioned oratorio by American composer Henry Brant, entitled Rainforest (available on CD in the Henry Brant Editions), which had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara Arts Festival on April 21, 1989.

Since 1990 Moore has lived in Philadelphia with his wife, Malika, and two children, now grown, and has participated in Fringe Festivals with poetry and music, and local poetry readings, as well as traveling to England, Cairo, Marrakech and universities in the United States to present his poetry.

See below for the titles in Moore's current publishing project, The Ecstatic Exchange, of his life's work in poetry.

1990 onward[edit]

In 1990 Moore moved with his family to Philadelphia, where he continues to write and read his work publicly. He has received commissions for two prose-books with Running Press of that city, the best-selling The Zen Rock Garden and a men’s movement anthology, Warrior Wisdom; his commissioned book for The Little Box of Zen was published in 2001 by Larry Teacher Books.

Moore's poems have appeared in Zyzzyva, City Lights Review, and The Nation. He has read his poetry to 40,000 people at the United Nations in New York at a rally for the people of Bosnia during that war, and has participated in numerous conferences and conventions at universities (including Bryn Mawr, The University of Chicago and Duke University in 1998, the American University at Cairo, Egypt, in 1999, and the University of Arkansas in the year 2000). His book The Ramadan Sonnets, co-published by Kitab and City Lights Books, appeared in 1996, and his book of poems, The Blind Beekeeper, distributed by Syracuse University Press, in January 2002. He has over 50 manuscripts of poetry which make up his present body of work.

In March 2000 and October 2001, Moore collaborated with the Lotus Music and Dance Studio of New York, performing the poetic narration he wrote for their multicultural dance-performance of The New York Ramayana, and recently revived his own theatrical project in The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater, presenting The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun with live-action and hand-puppets. He wrote the scenario and poetic narration and directed a collaboration between traditional Mohawk and modern dancers for The Eagle Dance: A Tribute to the Mohawk High Steel Workers, which was to be presented in New York on September 22, 2001, postponed for a performance on March 16, 2002 at the Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem. He has participated in The People’s Poetry Gathering of New York, narrating a cabaret-version of The New York Ramayana at the Bowery Poetry Club and participating in a panel on The Poet in The World: Words in Community. He continues to give many public readings during the year, often accompanying himself on specially tuned zithers.

In 2011 and in 2012 He was a recipient of a Nazim Hikmet Award for poetry, and in 2012 attended the ceremony in Cary, North Carolina. In 2013 Moore was awarded an American Book Award for his poetry collection, Blood Songs, published by The Ecstatic Exchange, the award ceremony held in Miami, Florida.

Published works[edit]

Poetic works[edit]

  • Dawn Visions (City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1964)
  • This Body of Black Light (Fred Stone, Cambridge, 1965)
  • Burnt Heart (City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1971)
  • The Desert is the Only Way Out (Zilzal Press, Santa Barbara, 1985)
  • The Chronicles of Akhira (Zilzal Press, Santa Barbara, 1986)
  • Halley's Comet (Zilzal Press, Santa Barbara, 1986)
  • Atomic Dance (am here books, Santa Barbara, 1988)
  • Awake As Never Before (Zilzal Press, Philadelphia, 1993)
  • The Quest for Beauty —illustrated by Sara Steele (Zilzal Press, Philadelphia, 1994)
  • Roses, A Selection of Poems (Zilzal Press, Philadelphia, 1994)
  • Maulood, a poem in praise of The Prophet Muhammad (Zilzal Press, Philadelphia, 1995)
  • Mecca/Medina Time-Warp (Zilzal Press, Philadelphia, 1996)
  • The Ramadan Sonnets (Kitab/City Lights Books, Bethesda/San Francisco, 1996)
  • The Blind Beekeeper (Zilzal Press Chapbook, Philadelphia, 1999)
  • The Blind Beekeeper, Poems (Jusoor/Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2001)
  • Mars & Beyond (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2005)
  • Salt Prayers (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2005)
  • Laughing Buddha Weeping Sufi (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2005)
  • Ramadan Sonnets (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2005)
  • Psalms for the Brokenhearted (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)
  • I Imagine a Lion (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)
  • Coattails of the Saint (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)
  • Love is a Letter Burning in a High Wind (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)
  • Abdallah Jones and the Disappearing-Dust Caper (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)
  • The Flame of Transformation Turns to Light/Ninety-Nine Ghazals Written in English (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2007)
  • Underwater Galaxies (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2007)
  • The Music Space (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2007)
  • Cooked Oranges (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2007)
  • Through Rose Colored Glasses (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)
  • Like When You Wave at a Train and the Train Hoots Back at You/Farid's Book (The Ecstatic Exchange,2008)
  • In the Realm of Neither (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)
  • The Fire Eater's Lunchbreak (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)
  • Millennial Prognostications (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)
  • You Open a Door and It's a Starry Night (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)
  • Where Death Goes (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)
  • Shaking the Quicksilver Pool (The Ecstatic Exchange,2009)
  • The Perfect Orchestra (The Ecstatic Exchange,2009)
  • Sparrow on the Prophet's Tomb (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)
  • A Maddening Disregard for the Passage of Time (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)
  • Stretched Out on Amethysts (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2010)
  • Invention of the Wheel (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2010)
  • Chants for the Beauty Feast (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • In Constant Incandescence (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • Holiday from the Perfect Crime (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • The Caged Bear Spies the Angel (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • The Puzzle (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • Ala-udeen & The Magic Lamp (with illustrations by the author)(The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)
  • The Crown of Creation (with illustrations by the author)(The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)
  • Blood Songs (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)
  • Down at the Deep End The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)
  • Next Life (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2013)
  • A Hundred Little 3D Pictures (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2013)
  • Miracle Songs for the Millennium (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2014)
  • He Comes Running, A Turkish Sojourn, and Myths We Never Knew (The Ecstatic Exchange, 2014)

Theatrical works[edit]

The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company[edit]

  • The Walls are Running Blood (1968)
  • Bliss Apocalypse (1970)
  • Bliss Apocalypse Contemporaries: 28 New American Poets (Viking Press, New York 1972)

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship plays[edit]

  • Tayyad Sultan (1994)
  • Mr Richman and The Shaykh (1995)
  • The City of Sokku (1996)
  • Meeting in Mecca (1997)

The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater[edit]

  • The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun (2000)

Songs, musical texts, and libretti[edit]

Commissioned works (poetry/prose)[edit]

  • The Zen Rock Garden, A Way of Seeing with boxed miniature rock garden (Running Press, Philadelphia, 1992)
  • Warrior Wisdom (Running Press, Philadelphia, 1993)
  • The New York Ramayana —poetry narration (Lotus Music & Dance Studios, New York 2000)
  • The Little Box of Zen (Larry Teacher Books, 2001)
  • The Eagle Dance: A Tribute to the Mohawk High-Steel Workers —scenario, poetry text, direction and narration (Lotus Music & Dance Studios, New York 2001)

Editorial works[edit]

  • The Adam of Two Edens: The Poems of Mahmoud Darwish, as editor of various translators (Jusoor/Syracuse University Press 2001)
  • State of Siege by Mahmoud Darwish, editor of the translation by Munir Akash (2004)

Anthologized works[edit]

  • Mark in Time: Portraits & Poetry (Glide Publications, San Francisco 1971)
  • Contemporaries: 28 New American Poets (The Viking Press 1972)
  • San Francisco Oracle (Facsimile Edition 1995)
  • Haight Ashbury in the 60's! (CD Rom, Rockument 1996)

Works for children[edit]

  • The Story of Noah, illustrations by Malika Moore (Iqra Books, Texas 1979)
  • The Cage-bird's Escape, illustrations by the author (Zahra Publications, Texas 1981)
  • Sulayman and the Throne of Bilqis, illustrations by Malika Moore (Zahra Publications, 1983)
  • Abdallah Jones and the Disappearing-Dust Caper (The Ecstatic Exchange/Crescent Series, 2006)

Notable lectures and performances[edit]

  • Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, Arab Awareness Week, featured poet with Khaled Mattawa, and lecturer on modern poetry, 1998-08-17
  • University of Illinois, Chicago, Milad an-Nanbi, Naqshbandi Foundation, poet and lecturer, 1998-08-15
  • Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, Islamic Awareness Week, Featured Poet and lecturer, 1998-11-10
  • University of Illinois, Champaine/Urbana IL, Islamic Awareness Week, Featured Poet and lecturer, 1998-11-14
  • University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, "Perceiving the Arab World & Islam," featured poet with Naomi Shihab Nye, poetry reading and moderator for workshops, 1999-02-12
  • The American University at Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, featured poet on program of Sufi poetry in English, and lecturer on American Beat Poets, 1999-05-04
  • Cabrini College, Wayne, PA, reading and performing "Millennial Prognostications", 2000-04-18
  • Cabrini College, Wayne, PA, The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater performance of "The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun," 2001-02-20
  • University of Pennsylvania Museum, PA, with Coleman Barks reading Rumi, as featured reader of the poem "Waving Hello/Waving Goodbye," 2001-12-08
  • The American University at Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, A Night of Rumi poems and a Night of Original Poetry, 2002-02-11
  • Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, "Mystical Poetry and the Spiritual Imagination," lecture and reading, 2003-03-20
  • Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, featured poet, 2003-04-24
  • The College of New Jersey, Talk and poetry reading, 2003-11-07

Critical mention[edit]

  • Saturday Review of Books, Kenneth Rexroth on American Poetry (1965)
  • Rolling Stone, "Floating Lotus" (San Francisco 1969)
  • Festival—The Book of American Musical Celebrations, segment on “Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company.“ (Collier Books, New York 1970)
  • Mug Shots: Who's Who in the New Earth, article and biography. (Meridian, World Publishing 1972)
  • Literary San Francisco, Lawrence Ferlinghetti & Nancy Peters. (City Lights Books/Harper & Row, San Francisco 1980)
  • Saudi Gazette, "A Lone Voice," Julia Simpson’s article on the poet. (March 16, 1988)
  • Ellipses Magazine, "Return of a Sufi." (Princeton, Vol V No 5 1996-97)
  • The Temple, Karl Kempton’s review of The Ramadan Sonnets. (Vol 3 No 3 Summer 1999)


  1. ^ Moore, Daniel Abdal-Hayy (2004). "Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Poetry". Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore poetry website. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  2. ^ "UCSB Special Collections, Guide to Santa Barbara Authors and Publishers". UCSB Donald C Davidson Library website, Special Collections section. University of California, Santa Barbara. 2006-11-20. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-12-07. Poet, known as Daniel Moore until his conversion to Islam in 1969, lived in Santa Barbara in the 1980s.  
  3. ^ Moore, Daniel Abdal-Hayy (2007). "Ecstatic Xchange, "About the Author"". Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Poetry blog. WordPress.com. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 

External links[edit]