Well, my teacher just happened to pick one of my few idols. To begin with, I love the mystical poets and my signature line on my yahoo address is a quote from Rumi, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” On Facebook, I see so many wonderful quotes attributed to Rumi that, I often wonder how could one man have written so much beauty. I am very into metaphor and have a Meetup group called The Power of Metaphor in the Arts and Telling Our Stories and a Facebook page called Power of Metaphor. Much of my love of metaphor comes from my love of the mystical poets.
Coleman Barks is considered to be numero uno translator of Rumi, and his story is amazing. Coleman through his spiritual practice (though it is not said so in during this interview with Bill Moyers) was guided to translate the works of Rumi. At the time, of his beginning his journey with Rumi, he did not know Persian, and I do not know if he thoroughly knows it now. Somehow through his spirituality Barks was able to understand what Rumi was saying and that is outstandingly miraculous. In mystical circles, Rumi is considered to be a Master of the inner realms. From that vantage point, it could be considered that Rumi is able to move through the spheres of the God worlds and so he can be with Barks as one of his soul mates. For me, this is totally acceptable. I at one point was able to talk with Barks through email. I felt so incompetent at that moment. I wished that I could continue the conversation, but the words were not ripe enough in me to promote him to honor me with further conversation. He is in conversation with Robert Bly and does concerts with him sometimes. There is much similarity in how they do poetry readings. I don’t know who followed who, but perhaps it was a mounting event where each layered an added subtle style of innuendo on the other.
This video really helped me to understand how much gratitude I have for Barks in bringing the words of Rumi to me, and, in a greater sense, how much the mystical poets fueled my love of metaphor. The link below is not the part that our teacher had us watch. There are eight parts and I have not seen all of them as of yet. I hope you enjoy watching it to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCyjO9wL4ak