The Empty Flute: Translating the Ecstatic Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi

Coleman Barks Art & Creativity, Audio, Conversations, Perspectives, Spirituality Leave a Comment

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Coleman Barks and Stuart Davis explore the powerful cultural and spiritual legacy left by one of the world’s most famous and most beloved spiritual writers, as well as Coleman’s own creative process as he works with this fascinating material.

Coleman Barks is widely recognized as a preeminent scholar and translator of Rumi’s work. He is the author of numerous Rumi translations, as well as his own original poetry, and has been a student of Sufism since 1977. His work with Rumi was the subject of an hour-long segment in Bill Moyers’s Language of Life series on PBS, and he is a featured poet and translator in Bill Moyers’s poetry special, “Fooling with Words.” In this discussion, he and Stuart Davis explore the powerful cultural and spiritual legacy left by one of the world’s most famous and most beloved spiritual writers, as well as Coleman’s own creative process as he works with this fascinating material.

Jalal ad-Din Muḥammad Rumi was a Persian poet who lived during the 13th century AD in present-day Tajikistan. One of history’s most cherished mystics, his poetry knows no equal. The depth and beauty of Rumi’s ecstatic verses continue to reach out to us through centuries of time, warming our hearts, arousing our spirits, and nurturing our awakening.

Rumi was an avid believer in the power of music, poetry, and dance as a direct path to God. As the Buddha found his enlightenment by sitting in radical emptiness, Rumi finds his by dancing in radical fullness. Though he was born into an incredibly rich tradition of Sufism, what is perhaps most remarkable about Rumi’s poetry is how truly universal and adaptable it is. Whether you are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, Rumi’s prolific descriptions of love, devotion, and divine illumination cut through the layers of religious dogma, cultural belief, and historic circumstance, leading us all to the mystical core that silently waits within every major spiritual tradition.

Says artist Shahram Shive:

“Rumi deals with the human condition and that is always relevant. Rumi is able to verbalize the highly personal and often confusing world of personal growth and development in a very clear and direct fashion. He does not offend anyone, and he includes everyone. The world of Rumi is neither exclusively the world of a Sufi, nor the world of a Hindu, nor a Jew, nor a Christian; it is a state of an evolved human. A human who is not bound by cultural limitations; a one who touches every one of us. Today Rumi’s poems can be heard in churches, synagogues, Zen monasteries, as well as in the downtown New York art/performance/music scene.”Shahram Shive

We are very happy to present: Coleman Barks and Stuart Davis.

Coleman Barks

About Coleman Barks

Coleman Barks is a renowned poet and the author of nearly twenty books of translations of the Persian mystical poet Rumi and other Near Eastern poets.

Stuart Davis

About Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis is a longtime friend of Integral Life and Ken Wilber, and has acted as guest host for many Integral Life dialogues over the last decade. With fifteen full-length albums to his credit, Stuart has carved out a unique wavelength in the musical spectrum. Taking the topics of God, sex and death, and crafting them into inimitable pop songs with lyrical flair and unforgettable hooks, Stuart also works in television, film, painting, and books.

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