Pine Cone and Potato Chip: On Rumi and Coleman Barks

Ravi Shankar, founding editor of Drunken Boat, has published ten collections of original and translated poetry, most recently his own What Else Could It Be (Carolina Wren Press, 2015) and The Autobiography of a Goddess by the ninth-century poet/saint Andal, published this year by Zubaan Books in India and the University of Chicago Press. He has won a Pushcart Prize and a Hackney Literary Award, appeared on NPR and the BBC, and published in the New York Times and the Paris Review. Shankar is currently writing a memoir and editing a book of golden shovels to commemorate Gwendolyn Brooks.

The Opening Heart

Jody Kennedy’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hippocampus, Vilas Avenue, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and the Madison Review. A native of Wisconsin, Kennedy holds a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and currently lives in France.

Coleman Barks: “auroral aliveness, powers, hilarity”

I first knew Coleman Barks in 1970 when I took his class on writers of American realism at the University of Georgia. We read Flaubert and Turgenev in that class because Coleman believed you couldn’t understand the American realists without …

Hugh Ruppersburg has just retired as Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and University Professor of English at the University of Georgia. He writes about American literature and film, especially of the American South. 

The Answer

Ty Sassaman’s work in this issue is his first publication. Sassaman is a first-year MFA student at Butler University and runs Just One Question, a single-question interview project. His self-published memoir, “Just One Question: My Road Trip Interview with America,” will debut in late 2016.


The story is almost always the same. Every six months or so, I make the trip from Tucson back to my old neighborhood in New York and discover yet another childhood landmark gone. Some landlord or other has forced a …

Thomas Mira y Lopez’s recent essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hotel Amerika, and Seneca Review. He is an editor for Territory, a literary journal about maps and other strange objects, and he is working on a book about resting places that will include “Overburden.” Miray Lopez holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Arizona and is currently an Olive B. O’Connor fellow at Colgate University.

The Delight of Making Up Gods; Elegy for Galway, Late October; Vanilla and Banana-Peanut Butter; Hub; The Truth of One Short Poem; & Fjord

Coleman Barks, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, has since 1977 collaborated with various scholars of the Persian language (most notably, John Moyne) to bring over into American free verse the poetry of the thirteenth-century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi. This work has resulted in twenty-one volumes, including the bestselling Essential Rumi in 1995. He has also published eight volumes of his own poetry, including Hummingbird Sleep: Poems 2009–2011 (2012) and Winter Sky: Poems 1968–2008 (2008), both from the University of Georgia Press. 

Almandal Grimoire: The Book as Magical Object

Genese Grill holds a BFA from Cooper Union in painting, and an MA and PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in Germanic literatures and languages. She is the author of The World as Metaphor in Robert Musil’s “The Man without Qualities”: Possibility as Reality (Camden House, 2012) and the translator of a collection of Musil’s short prose, Thought Flights (2015); his short-story collection Unions (2019); and Theater Symptoms: Robert Musil’s Plays and Writings on Theater (forthcoming)—with these three all from Contra Mundum. Her literary essays, translator introductions, and scholarly writing have appeared in The Georgia Review, Numero Cinq (where she is on the masthead as special correspondent), Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics, the Missouri Review, and elsewhere. Her completed, as-yet-unpublished collection of essays celebrates the relationship between matter and spirit.

on Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón

Ada Limón’s poetry recognizes the ways shifting landscapes throw order into chaos. In Bright Dead Things, her fourth collection, the mutable settings—from New York to Kentucky to California—serve to underscore the speaker’s turbulent feelings of loss. Limón’s speaker ties …

Lindsay Tigue won the Iowa Poetry Prize for her first book, System of Ghosts (University of Iowa Press, 2016). She writes poetry and prose and her work appears in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. Tigue, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference scholar and Vermont Studio Center fellow, holds an MFA from Iowa State University and is currently a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Georgia.

on The Great Medieval Yellows by Emily Wilson

Adam Day is the author of Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books, 2015), and is the recipient of both a PSA Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha and a PEN Emerging Writers Award. His work has appeared in the Boston Review, Lana Turner, APR, AGNI, the Iowa Review, and elsewhere. He coordinates the Baltic Writing Residency in Sweden, Scotland, and Kentucky’s Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.