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Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore (born July 30th, 1940, in Oakland, California, USA as Daniel Moore) is an American 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 become known for spiritually-informed works such as Ramadan Sonnets (1996) and The Blind Beekeeper (2002), and Mohja Kahf[2], among others[3], has referred to him as "American Islam's poet laureate". In early adulthood Moore traveled widely, living in Morocco, Spain, Algeria, and Nigeria as well as in Santa Barbara in the United States.[4] 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 religious activities.[5]


Early career and conversion

His first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. 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 theatre 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 the late 1960s, Moore lived in Boston's North End. In Boston, Moore was employed odd jobs to sustain himself and his wife of that time. Despite poetry-readings and other informal contacts with area fringe literary figures, Moore led a distinctly nondescript life. 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. However, the San Francisco cultural movement would increasingly become disreputable due to its own extremes. For Daniel Moore, who had returned to the area by this time, a new life-change and redefinition of self was in order. This need translated itself in an interest in Islam.

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 took 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, aided by his long-time friend, Hakim Archuletta, who was also an actor in Moore's sacred theater-company and who presently offers lectures on Wisdom Healing all over the world.

As for 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.

See below for the titles in Moore's current publishingproject of his life's work in poetry.

1990 onward

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.

Published works


Poetic works

  • 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)

Theatrical works

The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company

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

Dar Al-Islam School, Abiquiu, New Mexico

  • The Stonecutter's Dream (1988)
  • The Setting Free of The Blind Princess of Zar (1989)

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship plays

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

The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater

  • The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun (2000)

Songs, musical texts, and libretti

Commissioned works (poetry/prose)

  • 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

Anthologized works

  • 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

  • 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

  • Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, Arab Awareness Week, featured poet with Khaled Mattawa, and lecturer on modern poetry, 1998-08-17
  • Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico, Islamic Symposium, featured poet and lecturer, with public reading, 1998-07-13 to 1998-07-19
  • 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

  • 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" (html). Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore poetry website. Retrieved 2007-12-07.  
  2. ^ Matthews, Kevin (2006-06-07). "Muslim American Poet Sets Down Stakes" (html). website of the UCLA International Institute. University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved 2007-12-07.  
  3. ^ "City Circle Weekly Events" (html). website of The City Circle, promoting the development of a distinct British Muslim identity. The City Circle (London, UK). 2007-11-24. Archived from the original on 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2007-12-07. "City Circle and Q-News in association with the Muslim College invites you to an evening of poetic inspiration with American Islam's Poet Laureate Daniel Abd al-Hayy Moore..."  
  4. ^ "UCSB Special Collections, Guide to Santa Barbara Authors and Publishers" (html). UCSB Donald C Davidson Library website, Special Collections section. University of California, Santa Barbara. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-07. "Poet, known as Daniel Moore until his conversion to Islam in 1969, lived in Santa Barbara in the 1980s. "  
  5. ^ Moore, Daniel Abdal-Hayy (2007). "Ecstatic Xchange, "About the Author"" (html). Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Poetry blog. Retrieved 2007-12-07.  

External links


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