A MacArthur Mazal Tov

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The wonderful Peter Cole — a poet, publisher, and translator — has received a MacArthur “genius” award. The fellowship, given out by the MacArthur Foundation, comes with a $500,000 prize.

About a year and a half ago, I spent 6 weeks in Jerusalem and discovered that I lived across the street from Peter, who is perhaps best-known for his translations of the medieval Hebrew poets Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Shmuel HaNagid.

After inviting myself over, I ended up writing a profile of Peter, his wife Adina Hoffman, and their amazing book press, Ibis Editions, for the Forward.

Here are two previous blog posts about Peter: one about his relationship with the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali and one about Ibis Editions, which contains the profile I wrote for the Forward.

Most recently, Peter translated and edited The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492.

So Mazal Tov to Peter, a guardian and advocate of literature in all languages — and a kind, gracious man to boot.

Posted on September 26, 2007

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