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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Cole’

Introducing Our Sixtieth-Anniversary Issue!

February 27, 2013 | by

-1If you happened to be in Paris this past month, and walked past the public toilets at the corner of rue Alexandre Dumas and boulevard de Charonne, you may have noticed a giant picture of George Plimpton’s face gazing out over the 11th arrondissement with great benignancy and just the slightest possible suggestion of a gueule de bois. This illegal memorial to our founding editor, by the poster artist JR, celebrates the sixtieth birthday of The Paris Review in the city of her birth. 

It happens also to be the cover of our special anniversary issue.

In which:

Deborah Eisenberg talks failure and perseverance with Catherine Steindler—

You write something and there’s no reality to it. You can’t inject it with any kind of reality. You have to be patient and keep going, and then, one day, you can feel something signaling to you from the innermost recesses. Like a little person trapped under the rubble of an earthquake. And very, very, very slowly you find your way toward the little bit of living impulse.

Mark Leyner talks process with Sam Lipsyte—

When I was at Brandeis, I met this girl named Rachel Horowitz, and we really loved reggae music. This was in 1970. We decided, Why don’t we go to Jamaica? So we went and we got some really nifty little bungalow place in Montego Bay—very cheap, because we couldn’t afford much then. And it had a little pool for the couple of bungalows and a little kitchen. And I’d never really stayed in place like this on my own, with a girlfriend. I mean, nothing quite like that. I had been away the year before with another girl, took a trip to Israel and in Europe and things, but I’d never been in a groovy tropical place like this. And we had a car, so one day we drove into town and got some stuff, because we had a refrigerator and a pantry. We also got some Red Stripe. And this guy at Brandeis had given me some acid to bring to Jamaica. This guy was like the Johnny Appleseed of acid. He would take a load of acid and explain an album cover to you for just hours. He would take a Hot Tuna album that you had seen a trillion times and he would begin to examine it with these long lectures that were like Fidel Castro giving a lecture at the Sorbonne. He also once set his hand on fire and watched it for quite a while because he was so high. That really impressed me. Anyway, this guy had given me some acid and one night, when Rachel and I were just hanging out in the hotel, I said, You wanna take some? She said no. I said, Okay, I think I’m going to. So I took it, and it comes on, and then I want a beer and I go into the little kitchen, and by now the acid’s full on and this guy, this big flying cockroach, like a palmetto bug—you know those things?—it crawls out of the six-pack, and to me, at the time, it was like a pterodactyl, in some Raquel Welch movie set in prehistoric times. According to Rachel, I batted this thing in the little kitchen for, like, five hours. She heard pans and things breaking and she said I emerged with a torn shirt, sweaty—and victorious. That’s what my experience of writing The Sugar Frosted Nutsack was like. Battling this pterodactyl in the closet with a pan. At a certain point, of course, the book attained a mind of its own, a subjectivity or an autocatalytic, machinelike quality.

And Willa Kim shows us her store of Paris Review erotica.

Plus, fiction by Adelaide Docx, David Gates, Mark Leyner, Ottessa Moshfegh, Adam O’Fallon Price, and Tess Wheelwright. Poetry by Sylvie Baumgartel, Peter Cole, Stephen Dunn, John Freeman, Tony Hoagland, Melcion Mateu, Ange Mlinko, Frederick Seidel, and Kevin Young. Essays by Vivian Gornick and David Searcy. 

On newsstands March 15. Subscribe now!

 

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Staff Picks: Sexual Humiliation, Advanced Style

March 16, 2012 | by

“No one wants to be called a penis with a thesaurus. For an English-language novelist, raised and educated and self-consciously steeped in the tradition of the Anglo-American novel, in which female characters, female writers, and female readers have had a huge part, the prospect of not being able to write for female readers is a crisis. What kind of novelist are you if women aren’t reading your books?” Elaine Blair on DFW, sexual humiliation, and that obscure object of desire, the woman reader. —Lorin Stein

I’ve been reading and rereading galleys of The Poetry of Kabbalah, an anthology of Jewish mystical verse translated (and massively annotated) 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. About the Poems of the Palaces, a series of hymns from the first millennium, Cole writes that it is “a poetry written for men who would become like angels, serving and praising God. It is not a poetry of ‘personal voice’ or ‘a meter-making argument’ with a ‘self.’ Rather, it is a verse rooted in the magical power of letters and words.” —Robyn Creswell

I was so excited when Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style landed on my desk—my love of the blog is no secret and being able to peruse these grandes dames at my leisure is even better! —Sadie Stein

Here’s an example of why some people need actual bookstores: if I hadn’t seen it sitting there at the Strand, I'd never have picked up Babbitt—and what could be better for a bad mood on a Saturday night with a cold? —L. S.

If you are like me and springtime puts you in a whimsical, dancing mood, try The Band Wagon with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Though I am too timid (and clumsy!) to dance like that myself, I live vicariously through their twirls and sashays through Central Park. —Elizabeth Nelson

The huge, knotted automobile parts now on view in the John Chamberlain retrospective at the Guggenheim each look like brushstrokes made massive, three-dimensional, and wonderfully kinetic. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

The Wilder Quarterly is the perfect thing to read in these early days of spring: the Brooklyn-based magazine is a stylish paen to all things green and growing and donates part of proceeds to the Fresh Air Fund. —S. S.

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The Spring Issue: Peter Cole

March 16, 2011 | by

The spring issue of The Paris Review includes five poems of Kabbalah translated from Hebrew by Peter Cole. Cole has translated several volumes of poetry, including The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 and Aharon Shabtai's War & Love, Love & War: New and Selected Poems. His most recent book of poems is Things on Which I’ve Stumbled, and Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, a book of nonfiction written with his wife, Adina Hoffman, was just released by Schocken/Nextbook.

I’ve never read poems quite like these—wild yet severe, also a little bit unearthly. Can you give some context for understanding them? What is their relation to Kabbalah?

The anthology these poems are drawn from—The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition, forthcoming from Yale—covers some fifteen hundred years, and the poems emerge from diverse varieties of Jewish mystical thought and practice: Palestine of Late Antiquity, the eleventh- and twelfth-century Jewish communities of Muslim Spain and medieval Germany, and, later on, Christian Spain, Ottoman Palestine, Yemen, North Africa, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

By and large, Jewish mystics were preoccupied with other masochistic pleasures (rolling in nettles, fasting and wearing sackcloth, observing turbocharged versions of the traditional commandments, et cetera), so there isn’t a great deal of Kabbalistic poetry. But the best of it epitomizes an extraordinarily potent if lesser-known aspect of Judaism. That wild severity and otherworldliness you describe reflects the history of Jewish esotericism through the ages, some of which is in fact shockingly mythic, intricate, erotic, and often just plain weird.

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