Amazing that Coleman Barks credits himself as translator of Rumi, despite apparently never having even read Rumi's writing in the original Persian. R. Nicholson, whose translations from the original Farsi Barks cribs (sorry - "rephrases") in several books, himself admits: "I do not, of course, pretend to have understood everything..." No such humility encumbers Barks, however. Apparently, his unique spiritual insights into Rumi make reference to the original writings unnecessary. At worst, this is the channeling approach to translation. At best, it is postmodernist orientalism. The scholar Nicholson writes that "no writer can fairly be judged by fragments, however fine..." Barks seems to agree, writing that his poems are "buckets lifted from a whole, whose connectedness runs its vast and intimate course..." To get a glimpse of that course, take a look at the translation Nicholson recommends, Whinfield's Masnavi, still in print through Octagon Books, under the title "Teachings of Rumi". The New York Times equates Barks's Rumi success with Kahlil Gibran's popularity in the sixties. That's good for Barks, at least financially. Whether he accurately conveys the teaching of the poet whom even contemporary Sufis refer to as "Our Master," or even approaches the literary value of that original, is another matter.