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Illuminating poetry, music and art

Literature Alive! has come up with an evening of mystical delight for its annual Wordslingers program.

Coleman Barks is reading the works of the 13th century mystical poet, Jalaluddin Rumi.

Recognized around the world as the leading English translator of Rumi, this Tennessee-born poet and retired professor captures Rumi’s insightful words of love, longing, and spirituality as no one else. And according to Betsy Fasbinder, he is wonderful to witness in performance.



Referring to Rumi as “the ultimate poet of love,” Barks has penned nineteen volumes of his work for the English speaking world. With sales of over three-quarters of a million copies, these translations have made Rumi the most-read poet in the United States.

I can’t help but wonder what Rumi himself would say about Barks and their curious partnership that spans the centuries.




Wordslingers (a term which, by the way, reflects “those who ‘sling’ their words with grace, incisiveness, and insight”) is the fall program of LiteratureAlive!, a group whose essence is a passion for the written word. Partnered now with The Center for the Arts Literature Alive! says over the past 13 years it has brought well over 100 local and regional writers, as well as dozens of nationally and internationally known writers, to the stage here. The other annual program it sponsors is Listening to the Wild in the spring. The groups also mentors writing programs at two high schools to ensure that young writers are nurtured in their creativity.

This Saturday’s event includes music by a duo who has collaborated before with Barks, especially to make the CD, “What was Said to the Rose.”

And don’t forget to look at the art in the center’s gallery – it’s all Rumi inspired.


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