A student of Sufism since 1977, Coleman Barks is one of the nation’s most celebrated poets and translators of the teachings of 13th Century Persian poet, theologian, and philosopher Jalal Al-Din Rumi. Barks’ books on Rumi, including the best-selling Essential Rumi, have sold more than half a million copies worldwide, and earned Barks a 2006 honorary doctorate degree from the University of Tehran in the field of Persian language and literature.
In addition to his interest in Rumi and other mystic poets of Persia, Barks has published several collections of his own poetry and his work has appeared in a wide array of anthologies, textbooks, and journals, including the Ann Arbor Review, Chattahoochee Review, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Plainsong, Rolling Stone, and Southern Poetry Review.
Books of his original work include Gourd Seed; Tentmaking; and Club: Granddaughter Poems, a collection of Coleman’s poetry about his granddaughter, Briny Barks, with illustrations by Briny. Barks has appeared twice on Bill Moyers’ PBS specials and his work is included in the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces.
Barks was educated at the University of North Carolina and the University of California at Berkeley and taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for 30 years.