A native of Tennessee, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in opening Western eyes to the teachings of 13th century Persian poet, theologian, and philosopher Jalal Al-Din Rumi. Although Barks relied on the translations of others, his interpretations of those translations have greatly expanded the reach and popularity of Rumi's teachings and verse. Barks's books on Rumi have sold more than half a million copies worldwide, and earned Barks an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tehran in the field of Persian Language and Literature. In addition to his interest in Rumi and other mystic poets of Persia, Barks also writes his own poetry from his home in Athens, Georgia. Books of his original work include *Gourd Seed*, *Tentmaking*, and *Granddaughter Poems*.