Hearing the Drawing: Ekphrastic Poetry and Translation, A Reading and Conversation

Is ekphrasis a kind of translation? What kind of ekphrasis? Which sort of translation? What does a given writer’s approach to one tell us about the other? And why should we care? American poet and translator Peter Cole talked about the complex dynamics at play behind these and related questions, as he read from his recent work that takes up this subject directly.


Peter Cole is the author of five books of poems—most recently Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)—and numerous volumes of translation from Hebrew and Arabic, medieval and modern. His many honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jewish National Book Award, PEN and TLS Prizes in Translation, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, where he teaches at Yale each spring.