the foremost translator of thirteenth-century mystic poet Jalal Al-Din
Rumi, Coleman Barks reaches a devoted, inspired, and ever-widening
international audience. Yet the foundation for Barks's work as a
translator is his own significant body of work as a poet.
offers a selection from Barks's seven previously published books
combined with a group of new poems.
Barks's open-hearted, free verse poetry is infused with a joy of the
spirit at play with the forms of the world. His journey through life is
deeply embedded in his work.
The poems spring directly from experience
and engage with subjects such as the elation and struggle of having and
raising children, grief over the deaths of loved ones, the transition
from parent to grandparent, or the changing nature and intensity of
desire. Barks's open letter to President Bush, written days before the
invasion of Iraq and widely circulated online, is a poetic plea for
peace, offering a startling and moving alternative to war.
Whether it is the childhood excitement of being named best athlete at
summer camp or the early signs of dementia at the age of seventy, Barks
uses the personal to convey the universal. The unique flow of a life is
here in poems that are rueful, confused, torn, and grateful, but always
informed by Barks's transcendent sense of joy and playfulness.
New and Selected Poems, 1968-2008
by Coleman Barks
University of Georgia Press,
current where it dips around a rock
has strands of light inside it.
"In the Wood, You and I."