We talk with Coleman Barks about how he has come to translating Rumi’s poetry, how he met his teacher and how the teachings unfolded in his life.
Coleman Barks is a leading scholar and translator of the 13th-century Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi. In addition to publishing two books of his own poetry (The Juice and Gourd Seed), Barks has published 12 volumes of translations from Rumi and others, and contributed to over 20 anthologies. The next edition of the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces will include selections of his Rumi translations. He is currently a member of the English Department at the University of Georgia.
This interview was recorded at SAND
JELALUDDIN RUMI (1207-1273)
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.
Open your hands,
if you want to be held.
Sit down in this circle.
Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you….
Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.
There’s a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the One I love everywhere?