Poet and translator Peter Cole was born in Paterson, New Jersey. His collections of poetry include Hymns & Qualms (1998), Rift (1989), What Is Doubled: Poems 1981-1998 (2005), and Things on Which I’ve Stumbled (2008). With Adina Hoffman, he wrote the nonfiction collection 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. His anthology, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (2007), was heralded as a new classic. He also edited The Poetry of the Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (2012).
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. Coeditor of Ibis Editions, Cole has taught at institutions such as Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Middlebury College. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, Connecticut.