Oct. 5, 2007 -
Peter Cole, a Jewish poet, translator and publisher, received a MacArthur “genius” award of $500,000 last week, and the timing couldn’t have been more apt. Cole is cofounder of Ibis Editions, a small Jerusalem press dedicated to translating Arabic, Hebrew and works in other Mideast languages in to English. (His MacArthur was announced as the same time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was making headlines when he spoke in New York at Columbia University and the United Nations.) Cole’s latest volume of translations, “The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry From Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492," celebrates the Sephardic medieval culture in which Hebrew and Arabic influences intermingled. He spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Temma Ehrenfeld. Read the interview here.