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PB POETRY FESTIVAL Names Coleman Barks as Special Guest Poet in Delray Beach, Jan 15-20, 2018
Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 6:26pm
Names Coleman Barks as Special Guest Poet
for 14th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival in
Delray Beach – January 15-20, 2018
Barks is World’s Leading Translator of 13th Century Poet Rumi, the Founder of Sufism
(Delray Beach, FL – July 11, 2017) Susan Williamson, Director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, today announced that Coleman Barks would serve as Special Guest Poet at the 14th annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival, which will be held next January 15-20 at Old School Square in Delray Beach.
“Spotlighting Coleman Barks at the next Palm Beach Poetry Festival will be like featuring two incredible poets in one,” says Miles A. Coon, Festival Founder & President. “Not only is Barks a great American poet in his own right, he is also one of the world’s leading experts of 13th century poet, Rumi. In fact, it has been translations by Coleman Barks that has helped Rumi become one of America's best-selling poets.”
Jalal Al-Din Rumi, born in 1207, was the founder of Sufism, not just a mystical offshoot of traditional Islam but actually an openhearted exploration of unity. Rumi fled from Mongol-ridden Afghanistan to come to Turkey, where he lived and taught until his death in 1273. Rumi’s words offer an all-encompassing spirituality relevant to our times: being present in the moment, finding the holiness in laughter.  
Famous bits of poetic wisdom from Rumi include:
+ “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
+ “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
+ “Woman is a ray of God. She is not that early beloved: she is creative, not created.”
+ “You know the value of every article of merchandise, but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it is all foolishness.”
In fact, Coleman Barks can be heard on the “Kaleidoscope” track on the Coldplay Head Full of Dreams album reading his translation of a poem by Rumi, including these lines: “This being human is a guest house/ Every morning a new arrival./ A joy, a depression, a meanness,/ some momentary awareness comes/ as an unexpected visitor./ Welcome and entertain them all. / Be grateful for whoever comes/ because each has been sent as guide.”
“Coleman Barks’ translations feel as if Rumi, himself, were speaking to me, bridging across the centuries and geographical distances that separate us,” says Coon. “Through his own poems and in his translations of Rumi, Barks brings the reader and the poet together, while fighting against forces that divide us.” 
“One might conjecture that Coleman Barks has an ‘old soul’ that speaks to us,” he adds.  “But I would argue that his work reflects just that—hard work, a devotion to craft—finding the right words that capture a singular voice in a vast and confusing world.  The Palm Beach Poetry Festival has always honored the power of such a voice, and we are proud to bring to Delray Beach the great Coleman Barks, who brings a lifetime of work to bear on the beautiful, tragic and awe-inspiring moments of being alive. If a whirling dervish from the 13th century can speak profoundly to a poet of 21st Century America, then surely we can all come together and be moved by each other’s voices.”  
About Coleman Barks:
Coleman Barks was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and educated at the University of North Carolina and the University of California at Berkeley. He taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for 30 years. In 1976, Barks began translating the 13th Century mystic, Rumi. His first publication of the Rumi work, Open Secret: Versions of Rumi, was awarded the Pushcart Writer’s Choice Award by William Stafford. His Rumi translations were collected in a definitive best-selling anthology, The Essential Rumi, and re-issued in 1997. His work with Rumi was the subject of a segment in Bill Moyers’ Language of Life series on PBS, and a special, Fooling with Words, aired on PBS in 1999. A selection of the Rumi translations appears in the prestigious 7th edition of the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. The father of two grown children and grandfather of three, Barks is now retired in Athens, Georgia.
About the Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2018:
The 14th annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival will be held next January 15-20 at Old School Square in Delray Beach. The Festival features top poets at numerous ticketed public events, including readings, talks, interviews, panel discussions and more. Nine workshops will be offered for which applications are required.
The 2018 Palm Beach Poetry Festival is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Morgan Stanley & The Legacy Group of Atlanta; the Cultural Council of Palm County, the Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council and the Board of Commissioners of Palm Beach County; The Palm Beach Post; Visit Florida; WLRN; and Murder on the Beach, Delray Beach’s independent bookseller.
For more information about the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, please visit www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.

Available for Interview:
Susan Williamson
Media Contact:
Gary Schweikhart
PR-BS, Inc.
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