Poet Coleman Barks delivers Rumi in such a way that it resonates within the contemporary American ear, warming his audience's aesthetic and spiritual faculties.
When I first read Rumi, the universe as I knew it exploded. Suddenly, I started realizing that the connections I share with others are bound by spontaneity, and I was opened to new levels of love. Reading Rumi is a transformative experience, and it's something that I owe to Coleman Barks, a scholar who is well known for his translations of the Sufi poet. Although Coleman Barks doesn't actually speak or read Farsi, what he's done for the accessibility of this Sufi mystic—by re-translating the translations from AJ Arberry and Reynold A Nicholson—is something worthwhile to note. By changing a poem that was written with literal translations and tight formations and applying those to the style of American free verse, Barks embodied the messages that traveled from the 13th Century to us in our 21st like bodies of water: free-flowing, simple and flexible.