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Coleman Barks, The Man Who Brought Rumi to the Masses

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How exactly did Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th-Century Persian mystic, become one of the most popular poets in the modern English-speaking world? Coleman Barks played a major role. Barks' free verse interpretations of Rumi have at times been the top-selling poetry books in America. Now 86 years old, Barks joins AR to talk about how he was given a mission to bring Rumi's words to the masses, which turned into a lifelong pursuit. He also talks about how his interest lately has shifted from Rumi to Rumi's teacher, Shams Tabrizi.


In this episode, Coleman reads from Soul Fury: Rumi and Shams Tabriz on Friendship

If you’re looking for somewhere to start with Coleman’s work, we recommend The Essential Rumi and Delicious Laughter.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to learn more, go to

The Museum wishes to thank The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation for their generous support of This Being Human.

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This Being Human

This Being Human is a podcast by the Aga Khan Museum and TVO. In every episode, host Abdul-Rehman Ma 
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