“Stunning. . . . Cole chooses poems that seem to hover between mysticism and earthliness . . . [and] virtuosically shows that the poetry [of Kabbalah] continues to retain its more earthly function.”—Haaretz
"Peter Cole offers a monumental view of the poetry of Kabbalah and honors the Kabbalistic reverence for song-as-knowledge by translating Hebrew into English song: his versions are graceful, clear, and most important, tuneful. They live in the ear and the heart, in English, with their own transformative power."—Rosanna Warren (Rosanna Warren)
"A groundbreaking work. Cole reveals and explores a subject that has hardly been noticed in previous scholarship or popular writing: the poetic aspect of Jewish mysticism. His translations are superb, his introductions to each section are clear and stimulating, and his notes are learned yet not intimidating, clarifying what would otherwise remain obscure. In short, he brings this material alive for a contemporary reader. This is a marvelous book."—Daniel Matt, author of The Essential Kabbalah
and translator of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition
“Resplendent. . . a dazzling treasury of verse spanning more than 1,500 years and accompanied by fascinating, illuminating commentary rich in history, biography, and literary expertise. . . . Cole has brilliantly preserved [the poems’] 'diverse prosodies' and ecstatic lyricism in his supple translations, allowing readers to fully appreciate how they grapple with ‘timeless concerns’.”—Booklist
“I’ve been reading and rereading. . . The Poetry of Kabbalah, an anthology of Jewish mystical verse translated by Peter Cole. This is ambitious poetry. It combines liturgical solemnity with outrageous flights of metaphor, and Cole’s versions match the originals step for step.”—Robyn Creswell, Paris Review Staff Picks
(Robyn Creswell Paris Review
“A veritable banquet of poetry that gives resonant voice to the depths of religious longing and passionate devotion. . . . With its combination of poetic beauty, learned commentary and short introductory essays, The Poetry of Kabbalah offers the reader a substantial survey of Jewish mystical history and thought through the channel of richly textured lyric voices.”—Eitan Fishbane, The Forward
(Eitan Fishbane The Forward
Won Honorable Mention in the 2012 New York Book Festival Poetry category, sponsored by the New York Book Festival
(Poetry Honorable Mention New York Book Festival
"The Poetry of Kabbalah is the crown of Peter Cole’s sublime achievement as a poet-translator. Kabbalah is the alternate center of Judaic spiritual culture, not so much esoteric as superbly metaphoric. As poet and as imaginative exegete, Cole illuminates Kabbalah in the mode of Gershom Scholem and Moshe Idel."—Harold Bloom
Honorable Mention in the Poetry Category at the 2012 New England Book Festival.
(Poetry Category Honorable Mention New England Book Festival
Won a Honorable Mention for the 2012 Association of American Publishers PROSE Awards in the Literature Category.
(PROSE Association of American Publishers
Won honorable mention for the 2013 Lois Roth Award for a translation of a literary work. This award is given by the Modern Language Association.
(Lois Roth Award Modern Language Association