"Perpetually superb. The imperative figures in Peter Cole's anthology are nice through any standards.... [They] galvanize love in any reader of Hebrew literature, and through [a] miracle of Cole's personal production, in any reader of very little Hebrew who at once confronts the paintings of this significant poet-translator.... Superb." -- Harold Bloom, New York evaluation of Books
Hebrew tradition skilled a renewal in medieval Spain that produced what's arguably the main robust physique of Jewish poetry written because the Bible. Fusing parts of East and West, Arabic and Hebrew, and the actual and the common, this verse embodies a unprecedented sensuality and severe religion that go beyond the boundaries of language, position, and time.
Peter Cole's translations display this outstanding poetic global to English readers in all of its richness, humor, grace, gravity, and knowledge. The Dream of the Poem strains the arc of the complete interval, featuring a few 400 poems by way of fifty-four poets, and together with a wide ranging historic advent, brief biographies of every poet, and wide notes. (The unique Hebrew texts can be found at the Princeton college Press internet site.) through a long way the main effective and finished amassing of medieval Hebrew poems ever assembled in English, Cole's anthology builds on what poet and translator Richard Howard has defined as "the best exertions of poetic translation that i've got visible in lots of years" and "an complete revelation: a physique of lyric and didactic verse so extreme, so clever, and so brilliant that apparently to spot an entire size of old realization formerly unavailable to us." The Dream of the Poem is, Howard says, "a crowning achievement."
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Additional info for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 (Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation)
The new urban wonder acted as a magnet for poets and musicians in particular, the most prominent of whom was the Persian musician Ziryaab, who—legend has it—had fallen out of favor at the ninthcentury Abbasid court and decided to try his luck in the West. 13 Oppressed for well over a century by the Visigothic rulers of Hispania, Jews had welcomed the Muslim invaders as saviors and no doubt proved valuable allies to the conquering foreigners, who knew neither the lay nor the language of the land.
16 By the time Dunash arrived in Cordoba, Jewish intellectual life in the city was also stirring. The driving force behind that awakening was a gifted Jewish physician, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut (c. 17 Born to a wealthy family that had moved to Cordoba from Jaén, on the eastern coast of Spain, Hasdai demonstrated a talent for languages, early on learning Arabic, Latin, and Romance (proto-Spanish), as well as Hebrew and Aramaic. His passion, however, was medicine, and while still a young man he acquired a measure of fame as a Cordovan physician.
He is, though, best known for his poetry. Just as his responsa show the inﬂuence of the Babylonian academies, so, too, his liturgical poetry preserves the then six-hundred-year-old Eastern tradition that went back to the work of Yannai, Qallir, and especially Sa‘adia Gaon. An archaizing religious poet of what Fleischer calls “titanic powers,” Ibn Avitor was proliﬁc and ambitious. Some four hundred of his poems have survived (most still in manuscript), and he seems to have attempted almost every sort of pre-Andalusian liturgical mode.