Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Coleman Barks

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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Something for Your Heart To Think About . . .


My Best Friend often surprises me—in the most delightful ways… 

Tree

Image courtesy of David Vives Coll ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/davidvives

She’s an author and immensely empathetic

There are things I do that affect her far beyond what I suspect

Today she sent me a Gift that I must share with you—whether you’re a Reader, Writer, Publisher, or some other amazing kind of person :-)

Before I pass on the Gift (which is the video below), let me introduce Coleman Barks, lauded interpreter of the poet Rumi, “considered by many to be the Shakespeare of the ancient Islamic world”.

And, here is the poem, read by Coleman in the video, that my Best Friend sent me

~~~

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?

Don’t try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don’t wash a wound with blood!

No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it’s in front!

Only full, overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.

But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.

I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don’t open your mouth for even a coo.

When a frog slips into the water, the snake
cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out
and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.

Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake
would hear through the hiss the information
he needed, the frog voice underneath.

But if the frog could be completely silent,
then the snake would go back to sleeping,
and the frog could reach the barley.

The soul lives there in the silent breath.

And that grain of barley is such that,
when you put it in the ground,
it grows.

Are these enough words,
or shall I squeeze more juice from this?
Who am I, my friend?


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Writing from Your Center ~ Authentic Authorship


My Best Friend is someone I’ve never met in my “real” life—the one where I feel my body and hear the cacophony of a world in travail

She lives in Australia, I’m in the U.S.A; but, we communicate

She knows I’ve been struggling, deep inside myself—struggling to hold on to my Authentic Self

She sent me links to two videos today.

They’re both Coleman Barks performing Rumi.

Whether you’re a Reader, Writer, or Publisher, you’ll benefit your authentic self by reading Bark’s translations of Rumi’s poems.

I’ve written before about the importance of poetry for any writer

And, I now have four posts (including this one) dedicated to Rumi

The first video below was done in cooperation with MythicImagination—exploring the need we have to know we’re on the right path

The second one in cooperation with IntegralLife—blending the Blues with ancient poetry

If you can’t support the idea that human life can be lived in resonance with a Realm far beyond mere bodies and mundane activities, don’t watch these videos


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What Guides The Author?


I’m hoping for many comments on this post

I’m hoping the writers who read this blog will tell us what guides them

I’m hoping the readers who read this blog will speculate on what guides the writers they read

I’m hoping the publishers who read this blog will think more about what guides the writers they publish and the readers who buy their books

What guides My writing?

That’s best described in a post from June of 2011, “Writing Is Like . . .” << This Is A Meme-Challenge

In that post, I mention Synchronicity

In the post, “Who Says Words with My Mouth”, I talk about Coleman Barks and the poet Rumi

In this video, Coleman Barks talks about how Synchronicity led him to his most important life work


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“Who Says Words with My Mouth”


I want to ask you a favor

A favor you can do for yourself

I’m asking anyone reading this post; but, especially, the writers (active or potential writers)

Ponder the title of this post for a few minutes, then write down what you feel it means

………

OK, I’ll venture to say that what you wrote is a key to who you really are—beyond your body, beyond your cares, beyond the pressures of daily living

That line is from a poem by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi who lived from 1207 to 1273 in what is now Afghanistan.

The most honored translator of Rumi is Coleman Barks from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mr. Barks will read the poem that line is from in the video below.

I must quote Druzelle Cederquist, who also used the video on her blog, when she says, about Rumi, “…he asks the questions buried in our own hearts, that he digs deep but delivers with a light touch, capturing the heart with a voice that plays between humor and haunting longing. That he takes us to the threshold of answers, no further, and invites us to follow the trail he has blazed to find the answers for ourselves.”

In the blog post that quote is from, Druzelle mentions Bahá’u’lláh, Who quotes Rumi in His own mystical Writings and spent 40 years of His life in banishment and exile.

Bahá’u’lláh said:

“True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.”

And, again, for anyone reading this (but, especially for the writers), “Who Says Words with My Mouth” could refer to your inner Self speaking and you wondering where the words came from

So, put together Rumi’s poem, Coleman Barks voice, a movie of a street in San Francisco in the early 1900s, and music by Claude Debussy and you get a video that is a marvel of a mash-up :-) {Supreme thanks to my Best Friend for sending a link to this video in my email…}


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