MacArthur Poetry Fellow Peter Cole In Conversation with Iranian-American Poet Kaveh Akbar, To Celebrate Cole’s Forthcoming Hymns & Qualms, Talk, Reading and Signing

Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m.

Peter Cole is acclaimed for his authentically original poetry and revered for translations that span the Hebrew Golden Age in Muslim Spain to the contemporary Middle East. He will wow us with a reading from his breath-taking new collection, Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and TranslationsCole, winner of a MacArthur as well as a Guggenheim, will be joined by the extraordinary Iranian poet Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, whose poems are published regularly in the New Yorker and elsewhere. These two are a poetry festival unto themselves! Come taste the fruits of their fine labors, in this talk, reading and signing.


Hymns & Qualms is a career-spanning collection that weaves Peter Cole’s poems and translations together in an unprecedented way.  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.”

“[Peter Cole’s] poetry is perhaps most remarkable for its combination of intellectual rigor with delight in surface, for how its prosody returns each abstraction to the body, linking thought and breath, metaphysics and musicality. Religious, erotic, elegiac, pissed off—the affective range is wide and the forms restless.” —Ben Lerner, BOMB

Hymns & Qualms is a majestic work, a chronicle of the imaginative life of a profoundly spiritual consciousness.” -Harold Bloom

“I love this book-for its idiosyncratic music, its moral and spiritual intelligence, and the balance it maintains between pain and joy, provocation and solace. People are always asking, What’s the point of poetry when the world is going to hell? Hymns & Qualms is a potent reply.”           —Christian Wiman

“Masterful . . . Deeply allusive, profound, committed verse.” —Michael Autrey, Booklist

“You can open this stunning debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, anywhere and find the critical tenderness that permeates Kaveh Akbar’s work. The work here means to go out on limbs, be it to fling blossoms, chew fireflies, or to push old nests into the river once the rearing is done.”– Francine J. Harris

Peter ColePeter Cole was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1957. He has published several books of poems and many volumes of translations from Hebrew and Arabic, both medieval and modern. He has received numerous honors for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and in 2007 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven.

kaveh akbar

Kaveh Akbar‘s poems appear recently or soon in The New Yorker, Poetry, APR, Ploughshares, Tin House, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, will be published by Alice James Books in Fall 2017; he is also the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic.“A recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and is currently a Visiting Professor of Poetry at Purdue University.

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