Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sui Genius

This Just In: Peter Cole Wins MacArthur "Genius" Grant

Very good start to year! Peter Cole, whom we've mentioned here many a time before, has won a MacArthur. Evidently he got the call just before the Hi-Hos. Gives a whole new meaning to that Leonard Cohen line: "and who / shall I say / is calling?"

Here's the official announcement off the MacArthur website:

Peter Cole is a translator, publisher, and poet who brings the often overlooked works of medieval Spain and the modern Middle East to English-speaking audiences. His highly regarded translations of the poetry of Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Shmuel HaNagid, two of the great Hebrew poets of the Andalusian “Golden Age,” offer readers a lyrical illustration of the extraordinary Arab-Jewish cultural partnership that flourished in tenth- through twelfth-century Spain. A poet himself, Cole’s translations infuse medieval verse with contemporary meaning while remaining faithful to the original text. His renderings of HaNagid’s poems in particular, long regarded as “untranslatable,” retain the subtleties, complexities, and formal elegance of the original verse. Underlying Cole’s translations is an implicit message of cultural and historical cross-fertilization that is also evident in his work as a poet and a publisher. His Ibis Editions publishes little-known works translated from Arabic, Hebrew, German, French, and Ladino, enlightening English-speaking audiences to the thriving literary tradition of the Levant. By fostering literary dialogue in and about the Middle East, Ibis provides an occasion for intellectual and cultural collaboration. In a region mired in conflict, Cole’s dedication to the literature of the Levant offers a unique and inspiring vision of the cultural, religious, and linguistic interactions that were and are possible among the peoples of the Middle East.

In your honor, Peter, this--if only because it started running through my head the minute I heard the news. Hats off!

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