O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength


I count at least seven great Jewish Diasporas: Babylon-Persia; Hellenistic Alexandria; Muslim and Christian Spain, including Provence-Catalonia; Renaissance Italy; Eastern Europe– Russia; Austria-Hungary together with Germany; the United States. Peter Cole’s The Dream of the Poem devotes itself to the crown of Jewry’s literary achievement in Muslim and Christian Spain: the blooming of a Hebrew poetry that, at the very best, could rival the magnificences of Scripture such as “Song of the Red Sea” (Exodus 15:1b–18), the “War Song of Deborah and Barak” (Judges 5:1–31), and “David’s Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan” (2 Samuel 1:19–27).

more from the NYRB here.