Arts Society & Culture

Coleman Barks and John Fernandes team up for The Georgia Review issue release party

Coleman Barks bw-h
Coleman Barks

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Review at the University of Georgia will pair writers and musicians for its upcoming issue-release party, set for April 3 at 7 p.m. at Ciné in downtown Athens. Coleman Barks, an internationally known poet and translator and longtime Athens resident, will read from his poetry.

Jeff Fallis, poet, fiction writer, and doctoral candidate at UGA, will open. Bookending the readings will be musical performances by John Fernandes and Alec Livaditis. Fernandes, a longtime force in the local music scene, will perform on violin, clarinet and bass clarinet; he will be joined by Livaditis on cello.

Barks taught American literature and creative writing at UGA for 30 years, and since his retirement in Athens he has turned more and more to his own writing. He first published in The Georgia Review more than 40 years ago and has appeared in its pages numerous times in the past decade.

After early work on his own writing, Barks began to collaborate with scholars of the Persian language to translate into American free verse the poetry of the thirteenth-century mystic, Rumi. This work has resulted in twenty-one volumes, including the bestselling “Essential Rumi” (1995) and “Rumi: The Big Red Book” (2010), which collects 34 years of Barks’s work on Rumi’s ghazals and rubai.

In 2008, UGA Press published “Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems,” 1968-2008, and in spring 2013 UGA Press released “Hummingbird Sleep, Poems 2009-2011.”

Barks has been honored with the Juliet Hollister Award for his work in the interfaith area. In 2005, the U.S. State Department sent him to Afghanistan as the first American visiting speaker there in 25 years. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Tehran. And in 2009, he was inducted into the Georgia Writers’ Hall of Fame.

At the event, the Review’s Spring 2015 issue will be available, as will selected titles by Barks.

The newly released Spring 2015 issue of The Georgia Review begins the journal’s 69th year of continuous quarterly publication.

The lead piece is “Of Yalta” by Erin Adair-Hodges, who makes her first ever appearance in print as the winner of the Review’s second annual Loraine Williams Poetry Prize. Later in the issue, readers will find a sequence of six poems by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn, as well as works from two-time National Book Critics Circle Award winner Albert Goldbarth and Georgia poet laureate Judson Mitcham.

The 12-page visual art feature for Spring 2015 is “We Dust the Walls: A Poetry Comic by Bianca Stone”-but front-to-back readers will only come to it after encountering the essay, “Writing While the World Burns,” in which Scott Russell Sanders conjures first the environmental state of Earth in the year 2100 based on current scientific predictions, and then a young woman from that future, “Rachel,” who has inherited her great-grandmother’s library from our own time. What, Sanders asks, does Rachel find and not find in those books that might help her understand how writers did and didn’t work to prevent the terrible pass to which her world has come?

The new issue also features three radically different love stories by Jessica Hollander, Charles McLeod, and Miles Wilson; a half-dozen wide-ranging book reviews; and four new poems by Bob Hicok-including “Aphrodite at Eighty,” which opens with these lines: “To be young and feel / like a grenade-that you can walk / into a room and explode it / with your hips, your face- / all of the men and women / and eunuchs turning to you / at once-a wind made-a storm born / of their lust . . .”

Additional information about The Georgia Review, see www.thegeorgiareview.com, call 706-542-3481, or stop by the Review office on the seventh floor of UGA’s Main Library.