Thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi is now the most popular poet in the United States. In this event, leading Rumi interpreter, Coleman Barks, reads his beloved versions of the Sufi poet’s verse, biographer Brad Gooch shares research into Rumi’s lived experience, and poet Anne Waldman reflects on Rumi’s contribution to poetry’s ecstatic tradition.
Coleman Barks has taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for thirty years. He is the author of numerous Rumi translations. His work with Rumi was the subject of an hour-long segment in Bill Moyers' Language of Life series on PBS, and he is a featured poet and translator in Bill Moyers' poetry special, "Fooling with Words." His own books of poetry include Winter Sky: Poems 1968-2008.
Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Biography of Flannery O’Connor was a 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and a New York Times notable book. His short story collection Jailbait and Other Stories won the 1985 Writer’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Pushcart Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. A Guggenheim fellow in biography, he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and is a professor of English at William Paterson University. He is currently at work on a biography and translations of Rumi.
Anne Waldman is the author of more than forty books, including Fast Speaking Woman and Vow to Poetry, a collection of essays, and The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, an epic poem and twenty-five-year project. With Allen Ginsberg she co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, where she is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics. She received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and has recently been appointed a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.