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Jun 15, 2022

This episode is about poetry, and about Jewishness. How does Judaism manage so successfully to combine piety, love of the absurd, humour, secular rationalism, irony, disinterested inquiry, and mysticism? What is the secret of its unique paradoxes? And how about that poetry! This conversation took place between Nelson Rufatt, and poet, teacher, and translator of Hebrew and Arabic, Peter Cole. Cole's riveting books of poetry include 'Rift', 'Things On Which I've Stumbled', 'Hymns and Qualms', and his latest masterpiece 'The Invention of Influence'. He has written celebrated translations of medieval and Kabalistic Hebrew poetry, as well as of works by Hebrew and Arabic-speaking poets such as Aharon Shabtai, Yoel Hoffman, and Taha Muhammad Ali. Among his many prizes are a MacArthur Fellowship, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches Comparative Religion at Yale University, and lives sometimes in Jerusalem, sometimes in New Haven, Connecticut. The theme song is 'Zaftik' and was composed and performed by Nelson Rufatt.