Coleman Barks

Arthur J. Magida

in Opening the Doors of Wonder

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245457
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941717 | DOI:
Coleman Barks

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This chapter focuses on the poet Coleman Barks, who translated poems by Persian mystical poet Rumi, and presents his views on Rumi's Sufism. Barks began his project to translate the poems in 1976, and he has published over fifteen collections of Rumi's work. His work has turned Rumi into the best-selling poet in the United States and the Rumi–Barks collaboration into one of the most successful of all time for poets. Rumi was the founder of a branch of Sufism that celebrates ecstasy. In 1248, he became distraught, and started focusing on music and dance, eventually finding great relief by holding onto a pole that supported his tent and walking in circles around it, achieving states of ecstasy which would become the foundation of the tariqa Mawlawiya, or whirling dervishes. Rumi spent the next twelve years dictating over 27,000 verses that honor the self and the soul, warn about the limits of the intellect, and advise about spiritual life. Also in the chapter, Barks presents his views on mystical poetry, Rumi's Sufism, and the inspiration behind his translations of Rumi's poetry.

Keywords: Coleman Barks; Rumi; mystical poetry; Sufism; tariqa Mawlawiya

Chapter.  3807 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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