Poetry & Prose

The Invention of Influence
with an Introduction by Harold Bloom
New Directions, (2014)
William Carlos Williams Award, Finalist                                                               National Jewish Book Award, Finalist

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

“The poems collected in Peter Cole’s new book are deeply learned, wise, and marvelously constructed. I cannot imagine a more accomplished volume of poems will be published in 2014.”
— Staff Picks, Elliott Bay Books, Seattle

“One of the most receptive poets writing today….. With The Invention of Influence, Cole turns the ‘radical revolution’ of American poetry in new directions, writing with the same spiritual ardor, the same skepticism, and the same sublime craftsmanship that illuminates the work of … Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Susan Howe. He enlarges American poetry considerably, too, by demonstrating the kindred spirit shared by the Jewish mystical imagination and the restless agnosticism that defines the best of all our contemporary poetry.”
— Zack Finch, Jacket 2

Peter Cole has been called “an inspired writer” (The Nation) and “one of the most vital poets of his generation” (Harold Bloom). In this, his fourth book of poems, he presents a ramifying vision of human linkage. The mysteries of coupling and mediation, the delights of hearing and seeing, the dynamics of paranoia and reception, the perils of poetic vocation, the centrality of translation to the formation of self—all emerge in the freshest fashion along Cole’s characteristically sinuous and musical line.

At the heart of the collection stands the stunning title poem, which brings us into the world of Victor Tausk, a maverick and tragic early disciple of Freud who wrote about one of his patient’s mental inventions—an “influence machine” that controlled her thoughts. In Cole’s symphonic composition, this machine becomes a haunting image for the ways in which tradition and the language of others shape so much of what we think and say.

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Things on Which I’ve Stumbled
New Directions, 2008

“Peter Cole is best known as a matchless translator of Hebrew poetry. With Things on Which I’ve Stumbled he matures into one of the handful of authentic poets in his own American generation.”
— Harold Bloom

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Hymns & Qualms
Sheep Meadow Press, 1997

“Another masterpiece. [Hymns & Qualms] shows Cole working in long sequences, in Jabès-like narratives as well as tighter short forms…. Whatever the form, one thread flows through the whole: a master’s control of the language.”
— Shearsman Magazine (UK)

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What Is Doubled: Poems 1981-1998
Shearsman Books, 2005

“An urban poet whose city is Jerusalem; a classicist whose Antiquity is medieval Hebrew; a sensualist whose objects of delight are Mediterranean; an avant-gardist whose forms are the meditation, the song, the jeremiad, the proverb: Late in the story, American modernism has invented a Jewish poet who is more than tangentially Jewish, and one whose affinities are older than the Yiddish immigrant traditions. This is not a varnish of local color, but an unexpected opening: a new archaic bringing a new ‘deep song.’”
— Eliot Weinberger

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Station Hill Press, 1989

Rift is a terrific book of poetry, let alone an astonishing first book.”
— Chicago Review

“There is no waste to this poetry and, more important, everything there is worth having, alive and on the move – ‘A way cut to the letter,’ in his words.”
— John Ashbery

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Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
(with Adina Hoffman)
Schocken/Nextbook, April 2011
American Library Association’s Brody Medal for the Jewish Book of the Year

“A literary jewel whose pages turn like those of a well-paced thriller, but with all the chiseled elegance and flashes of linguistic surprise that we associate with poetry…Sacred Trash has made history both beautiful and exciting.”

— David Nirenberg, The Nation

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