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Coleman Barks born April 23, is an American poet , and former literature faculty at the University of Georgia. Although he neither speaks nor reads Persian , he is a popular interpreter of Rumi , rewriting the poems based on other English translations.
Barks is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Barks taught literature at the University of Georgia for three decades. Barks makes frequent international appearances and is well known throughout the Middle East. Barks' work has contributed to an extremely strong following of Rumi in the English-speaking world. Coleman Barks received an honorary doctorate from Tehran University in He has also read his original poetry at the Geraldine R.
Dodge Poetry Festival. He currently lives in Athens, Georgia , where he interprets the writings of Rumi and composes poetry of his own. In early , Barks suffered a stroke that has somewhat impaired his speech and has resulted in at least one cancelled appearance.
Barks does not speak or read Persian ; his 'translations' are therefore technically paraphrases. Barks bases his paraphrases entirely on other English translations of Rumi which include renderings by John Moyne and Reynold A. In some instances, he will also skip  or mix lines and metaphors from different poems into one 'translation'. For example, here is a very literal rendering by Reynold A. Nicholson ,. On the Day of Resurrection every hidden thing will be made manifest: every sinner will be ignominiously exposed by himself.
His hands and feet will give evidence and declare his iniquity in the presence of Him whose help is sought. His hand will say, 'I have stolen such and such'; his lip will say, 'I have asked such and such questions'; His foot will say. Act, then, in such wise that the action itself, without your tongue uttering a word , will be equivalent to saying 'I testify' and to making the most explicit declaration, So that your whole body, limb by limb, O son, will have said 'I testify' as regards both good and ill.
The slave's walking behind his master is a testimony equivalent to saying , 'I am subject to authority and this man is my lord. On Resurrection Day your body testifies against you. Your hand says, 'I stole money. Barks' translations have been criticised by many Persian scholars. The essential problem of Coleman Barks lies in the fact that in his version he intentionally changes Rumi He approaches Rumi's poetry as sacred texts, which need to be dusted from the passage of times by a touched devotee and prepared for the Post Modern, New Age market in the West.
The New Age movement finds a remedy for modern alienation in old recipes, such as horoscope, Extra-Sensory Perception and divination He tries to disconnect the mystical concepts of Rumi from their historical and social backgrounds and modify them for our contemporary taste The falsification and misrepresentation of Rumi's fundamental concepts is not limited to Love and spreads to other ideas such as "wine", "master" and "Jesus".
Barks has published several volumes of his own poetry, including Gourd Seed , "Quickly Aging Here", Tentmaking , and, in , Granddaughter Poems , a collection of Coleman's poetry about his granddaughter, Briny Barks, with illustrations by Briny. Harper published his first book of poetry, The Juice , in Iran is my first home-land.
The only credential I have for working on Rumi's poetry is my meeting with [my Sufi teacher], Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. That relationship is the only access I have to what is going on in Rumi's poetry.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the poet. For the business writer, see Robert W. This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately , especially if potentially libelous or harmful.
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This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and more than 80 never-before-published poems. Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi more popular than ever. The Essential Rumi continues to be the bestselling of all Rumi books, and the definitive selection of his beautiful, mystical poetry. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
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The Essential Rumi Revised