In Celebration of Rumi

15 03 2007

By Derek Beres

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.
—Rumi, from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Thanks to a former University of Georgia poetry/creative writing professor with a penchant for Sufism, the name Rumi went from an esoteric otherworldly moniker to common parlance in America. Coleman Barks began studying this small sect of Islam in 1977 and has since translated thousands of the famous poet’s works into English. And considering the man formerly known as Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi is celebrating a rather special anniversary—800 years young—the entire spectrum of Persian culture is throwing a party.

Born in what is now a region in Afghanistan and passing on in Turkey, Rumi’s name alone has become synonymous with a region often looked upon with misunderstanding and scorn. Considering that major media outlets look at this area as an addendum to and co-conspirators with a country Americans are at war with, the propagation of a poet whose entire career was about the bonding forces of humanity is a timely, and important, occurrence.

To read more on Rumi & Persian music on PopMatters, click here

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