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‘The Rumi Prescription’ Embraces The Nuances of Insanity

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Courtesy of Melody Moezzi

Growing up in Ohio, Melody Moezzi resented her father’s obsession with Rumi’s poetry. While his run-on couplets reminded her father of the Iran he loved and had to flee from, for her, his mysticism was contrary to the tenets of American identity she received in school.

Then Moezzi experienced a psychotic breakdown. Rumi’s verses electrified that experience, offering visions and connecting her with the divine. In her book “The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed my Modern Manic Life” (Penguin Random House/2020), Moezzi highlights the nuances of Rumi’s diagnosis of insanity in comparison to the U.S. medical system. While she suffered hospitalization and now relies on pharmaceutical management of her bipolar disorder, the break from reality welcomed her into a transcendent mysticism based in Islam’s founding principle — love.

Host Frank Stasio is joined by Moezzi, an attorney and a visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Moezzi is touring her book through Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh on March 6 at 7 p.m.; Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on March 9 at 7 p.m.; the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines on March 11 at 5:30 p.m., and Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on March 12 at 7 p.m.

Until May, Moezzi's book is also offered in exchange for a donation to the National Iranian American Council.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.