Coleman's Help with My Husband's Cancer (by Roberta Kilstrom)

Coleman's Help with My Husband's Cancer (by Roberta Kilstrom)

Roberta KilstromColeman's Help with My Husband's Cancer (February 23, 2007)

» Roberta tells her story (mp3, 2:41)

By 1995 my husband had been living with an incurable blood cancer for six years, and poetry was one of the things that sustained me through many uncertainties. It was my husband who encouraged me to watch the Bill Moyers PBS special called "The Language of Life" about the Dodge Poetry Festival. And on that program was Coleman Barks, one of the main translators of Rumi. Many words of Barks' and Rumi's, including these, were special mentors to me as my husband and I began spending more and more time in emergency rooms, listening to a shrinking list of treatment options, and planning for a bone marrow transplant: Keep walking, though there's no place to get to. Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings. Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move. After my husband's death, I finally met Coleman Barks and heard him read his translations of Rumi at the Dodge Poetry Festival in the fall of 2002. Roberta Kilstrom St. Louis, MO (KWMU, 90.7 FM)

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is professor of Persian & Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of several books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal aI-Din Rumi.