In recent decades, Farid ud-Din Attar’s 12th-century Persian masterpiece, Manṭeq al-ṭayr, has been the source for three new and revised translations, three illustrated adaptations (two for children), two expensive art books, and a number of theater and film adaptations. These translations and adaptations point to the rising importance of Attar’s poem in the English language. They are in conversation with Attar’s poem, bringing fresh and multifarious interpretations while building new homes for it in English.
Is: the third person, singular, present indicative conjugation of the verb to be. As I traveled through the exhibit David Bowie Is, which on display at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art until January 4th – notably, the only US stop on the exhibit’s tour – I kept trying to figure out what it was about the title that felt unfinished to me.