Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Hardcover)
" Peter Cole's] poetry is perhaps most remarkable for its combination of intellectual rigor with delight in surface, for how its prosody returns each abstraction to the body, linking thought and breath, metaphysics and musicality. Religious, erotic, elegiac, pissed off--the affective range is wide and the forms restless."
--Ben Lerner, BOMB
Hymns & Qualms brings together MacArthur Fellow Peter Cole's acclaimed poetry and translations, weaving them into a helical whole. Praised for his "prosodic mastery" and "keen moral intelligence" (American Poets), and for the "rigor, vigor, joy, and wit" of his poetry (The Paris Review), Cole has created a vital, unclassifiable body of work that plumbs centuries of wisdom while paying sharp attention to the textures and tensions of the present. He is, Harold Bloom writes, "a matchless translator and one of the handful of authentic poets in his own American generation. Hymns & Qualms is a majestic work, a chronicle of the imaginative life of a profoundly spiritual consciousness."
Cole is a maker--of poems and worlds. From his earliest registrations of the Jerusalem landscape's stark power to electric renderings of mystical medieval Hebrew hymns; from his kabbalistically inspired recent poems to sensuous versions of masterworks of Muslim Spain; and from his provocative presentation of contemporary poetry from Palestine and Israel to his own dazzling reckonings with politics, beauty, and the double-edged dynamic of influence, Cole offers a ramifying vision of connectedness. In the process, he defies traditional distinctions between new and old, familiar and foreign, translation and original--"as though," in his own words, "living itself were an endless translation."
About the Author
Peter Cole was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1957. He has published several books of poems and many volumes of translations from Hebrew and Arabic, both medieval and modern. He has received numerous honors for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and in 2007 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven.