HYMNS & QUALMS

Author: 
Publisher: 
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Year: 
2017

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.”