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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 8, 2007

Translator and poet Peter Cole will present Oct. 18 reading

Poet and translator Peter Cole, a 2007 MacArthur "genius grant" fellow, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in Shambaugh House, the headquarters of the UI International Writing Program, at 430 N. Clinton St. The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a book signing.

The MacArthur Foundation described Cole, the co-founder and co-editor of Ibis Editions in Jerusalem, as "a translator, publisher, and poet who brings the often overlooked works of medieval Spain and the modern Middle East to English-speaking audiences."

"By fostering literary dialogue in and about the Middle East, Ibis provides an occasion for intellectual and cultural collaboration. In a region mired in conflict, Cole's dedication to the literature of the Levant offers a unique and inspiring vision of the cultural, religious, and linguistic interactions that were and are possible among the peoples of the Middle East."

His work includes translation of the poetry of Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Shmuel HaNagid, two leading Hebrew poets of the Andalusian "Golden Age," as well as the modern poetry of Aharon Shabtai and the Palestinian Arabic poet Taha Muhammad Ali. Cole's 1996 translation "Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid" received the Modern Language Association's Scaglione Prize for Translation, and he also won the 2004 PEN-America Translation Award.

He is the author of three volumes of poetry, "Rift" (1989), "Hymns & Qualms" (1998) and "What is Doubled: Poems 1981-89" (2007).

Cole, one of several special guests of the IWP during its 40th-anniversary year, will participate in the UI Translation Workshop. His reading is co-sponsored by Hillel, Agudas Achim and the UI Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature.

Biographies of all the IWP writers are accessible at A description of the program and the 2007 residency period is accessible at

The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more than 1,100 writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk from Turkey.

This fall the IWP is hosting writers from more than 30 countries through November, including the program's first participants from Malta and Montenegro. The schedule will provide many opportunities for the public to meet and interact with the writers in social events, formal and informal readings, lectures, performances, film screenings and panel discussions.

The evolving calendar of events is accessible at and on the IWP site. These calendars will be updated regularly as new events are added.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),