Poet and translator Peter Cole was born in Paterson, New Jersey. His collections of poetry include Rift (1989), Things on Which I’ve Stumbled (2008), The Invention of Influence (2014), and Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (2017). With Adina Hoffman, he wrote the nonfiction volume Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (2011). Described by Harold Bloom as a “major poet-translator,” Cole has translated important writers in Hebrew and Arabic, including Aharon Shabtai and Taha Muhammad Ali. He also edited and translated The Poetry of the Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (2012) and The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (2007).
Cole’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He is the recipient of a National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, a TLS Translation Prize, the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding Jewish literature, and the 2010 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Cole divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, Connecticut, where he teaches each spring at Yale University.