Coleman has devoted decades to studying 13th-century poet Jelaluddin Rumi, and has been a student of Sufism since 1977. His work with Rumi was the subject of an hour-long segment for The Language of Life series on PBS with Bill Moyers. He was also a featured poet and translator on the PBS poetry special Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers.
Coleman published several volumes of his poetry, including Hummingbird Sleep, Winter Sky, and Early Autumn.
He taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for 30 years, and resides in Athens, Georgia.