Arthur emailed me this afternoon:
I was trolling YouTube for Yeats material when I happened across this tangential video of Coleman Barks performing, with back-up band, poems by Rumi (the most popular poet in the USA these days, and don’t you forget it). After the intro. by Professor Barry Spacks, you expect to see some pale-complected, ascetic hipster walk out — instead comes this big burly bearded man from Chattanooga, Tennessee with a big burly bearded accent. The unlikeliness of this conjunction of Johnny Cash country with medieval Persian mysticism clinches its authenticity. Like poetry itself, it’s just crazy enough to work.
Anyway, I couldn’t resist the following parody. (Let me say, in a doubtless foredoomed attempt to fend off charges of regionalist, classist, etc. snobbery by the humor-impaired, that my mother was from a small town in southern Tennessee.)
If Mr. Barks ever sees it, I hope he’ll take it in the affectionate spirit in which it was intended. Otherwise I may be in trouble.
In an attempt to let all the Google points accrue to Arthur alone, I will urge you to go read the aforementioned parody at his blog rather than reproduce it here. It’s a stellar effort; I trust you’ll find it well worth the journey. I did indeed laugh out loud, even though a grin and chuckle is usually the most demonstrative response you’ll get out of me.