Poet and Scholar Peter Cole Appointed Franke Visiting Fellow at Yale

The Whitney Humanities Center at Yale has announced the appointment of artist and scholar Peter Cole as the inaugural Franke Visiting Fellow for the fall semester of the 2006–07 academic year.

A long-term resident of Jerusalem, Cole is a distinguished American poet and translator. He is also one of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, a small press devoted to the dissemination of medieval and modern literature of the Middle East, originally composed in Hebrew, Arabic, French, Turkish and Greek. Cole is the acclaimed author of two volumes of poetry, “Rift” and “Hymns & Qualms.” His prize-winning translations of the Hebrew Golden Age poets Shmuel Hanagid and Solomon Ibn Gabirol, among others, have helped to recreate the multifaceted world of medieval Spain, in which Jewish artistic and intellectual communities flourished under Islamic rule. More recently, Cole has rendered into English the contemporary Arabic works of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali as well as Hebrew political poems by Aharon Shabtai and the novels of Yoel Hoffmann. Cole’s larger poetic project, including “The Dream of the Poem,” a forthcoming comprehensive anthology of Hebrew poetry of the Iberian Peninsula, from its 11th-century beginnings through the forced expulsions of 1492, aims to reveal the interconnectedness of past and present and generate greater understanding among seemingly disparate communities.

The Franke Visiting Scholars and Artists Program is made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Franke of Chicago. The Frankes have already endowed the Whitney Center’s annual series of high-profile lectures and seminars presenting enduring topics in the humanities to Yale undergraduates and the broader New Haven community. Their latest gift and the creation of this special residential fellowship will ensure ongoing interdisciplinary exchange and creative debate at the Whitney Center and more widely on the Yale campus.

On September 12, Cole will deliver a lecture titled “Real Gazelles in Imaginary Gardens: Art and Scholarship in the Translation of Medieval Hebrew Poetry from Spain.”  He will also co-lead a panel discussion on “Why Translation Matters” with Yale University Press Director John Donatich on October 17. The panel will form an integral part of the series of events associated with the Whitney Humanities Center’s annual Tanner Lectures on Human Values (headed this year by Princeton historian Anthony Grafton) and will feature a number of other prominent translators, literary critics and publishers. Cole’s appointment will promote dialogue and intellectual collaboration with Yale faculty and students. As a Whitney Fellow, he will participate in weekly talks with other Fellows, and he will be the guest at a master’s tea for Humanities majors. He and his wife, Adina Hoffman, will live as residential fellows of Calhoun College. Hoffman is an essayist and literary and film critic and the co-editor with Cole of Ibis Editions.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345