Coleman Barks at AWPPublished March 09, 2007 Posted by NewPages
Hearing Coleman Barks read at AWP Atlanta was the absolute highlight for me. I’ve read much of his translation of Rumi and only knew that of him. I was equally awed by his reading his own poetry that night – his non-Rumi poems. Not only is his delivery enough to carry you from the physical realm into the poetic ethereal, but his down-homey nature in his reading was like being wrapped in a cozy blanket on a cold winter’s eve. While reading, he would interject chuckles, amused by the memory of the line or the event therein reflected, and would add commentary, such as “This really happened,” as he talked the crowd of hundreds through his lines as though to a single friend over coffee. A smattering of his poetry with RealAudio recordings can be found on Courtland Review’s website. Coleman will be busy traveling this year, celebrating the 800th birthday of Rumi; if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to catch up with him.