He currently lives in Athens, Georgia, where he translates Rumi and composes poetry of his own. Barks makes frequent international appearances and is well-known throughout the Middle East. Barks's work has contributed to an extremely strong following of Rumi in the English-speaking world. Due to his work, the ideas of Sufism have crossed many cultural boundaries over the past few decades. Coleman Barks received an honorary doctorate from Tehran University in 2006. Rumi translations Barks has published several volumes of Rumi's poetry since 1976, including The Hand of Poetry, Five Mystic Poets of Persia in 1993, The Essential Rumi in 1995 and The Book of Love in 2003. Barks does not speak Persian, but bases his translations entirely on other English translations of Rumi.
This includes translations by John Moyne. In addition, while the original Persian poetry of Rumi is heavily rhymed and metered, Barks has used primarily free verse. This has led some to criticize Barks' works as essentially original creations, while others laud his efforts at providing the essence of Rumi's poetry in an accessible format. Barks has published several volumes of his own poetry, including Gourd Seed, Tentmaking, and Granddaughter Poems in 2001, a collaboration between Barks and his granddaughter Briny Barks. Granddaughter Poems is a collection of Coleman's poetry about his granddaughter and drawings by Briny. Read more on Last.fm.
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