Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Poetry, Translation, & Life


This post makes 23 on this blog that have something to do with Poetry… Rumi - Poet

And, one of my absolutely favorite poets is Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Plus, one of the best interpreters of Rūmī is Coleman Barks

I say “interpreter” rather than “translator” because all the good translators I’ve known say that translating poetry is actually writing a new poem in the second language, which to me is interpretation

Rūmī was Persian, Mr. Barks is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

And, in an article on Coleman’s site, these words are shared:

“The message Barks conveys is of Rumi’s ecstatic poetry, which, as Barks said to Bill Moyers, PBS journalist, is ‘trying to get us to feel the vastness of our true identity … like the sense you might get walking into a cathedral … what Jesus referred to when he said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”‘

“Barks gave a precise definition of ecstasy in that Moyers interview: ‘each moment [is] solid and actual, yet numinous, shot through with divine light and guidance.’ He also gave a telling anecdotal definition of ecstasy when I asked him more recently to define it: ‘I was with my granddaughter, going around the yard lifting up stones to see what was there — there’s always something good, something interesting — and a woman walking by on the street just turned her head and said, “You’re going to spoil her.” This universe is just so incredible that we’re all spoiled, and it’s okay. Rumi said, “The eye is meant to see things; the soul is here for its own joy.” ‘ “

In a world where poetry hardly sells, Barks’ books of Rūmī have sold millions

And, to begin learning about Rūmī’s life, check out this article in the Guardian.

Finally, here’s a marvelous interview with Coleman Barks—Enjoy :-)


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