The Essential Rumi Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How is Coleman Barks associated with Rumi?

Coleman Barks is a contemporary poet and scholar who has devoted much of his life to translating and understanding the many poems written by Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet and mystic.

2. How does the role of gender come into play in many of Rumi's poems?

Although Rumi's poems tend to teach lessons about life, love, and self discovery, much of his work was inspired by close male friendships. Thus, the role of gender in his poetry is primarily that of same-gender friendships, even though universal themes are expressed.

3. Who were Rumi's three best friends, and how did he regard each?

Rumi had three best friends whom he esteemed deeply and who influenced his poetry. The first was Sham of Tabriz, also known as Shams. Many of the poet's students were deeply jealous of the close friendship enjoyed between Shams and Rumi. The second was Saladin of Zarkub, a goldsmith who remained close to Rumi until his death. The third was Husam Chelebi, Rumi's trusted scribe and his favorite student.

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