Moshe Ibn Ezra (c. 1055–1135) is considered the finest craftsman of the Andalusian period and in many ways its representative poet, as he fulfilled the classical ideal of biblical purity of diction and made exemplary use of the rhetorical ornaments that he and his contemporaries adapted from the Arabic tradition. He was also the period's leading literary theoretician. Ibn Ezra exceled at short meditative lyrics and sensual verse, and he is highly regarded for his religious poetry, which skillfully blends Jewish religious and Arabic secular elements. Born and raised in Granada, he remained in that city after its Jewish community was destroyed by the Almoravid invasion from North Africa in 1090. Some five years later, perhaps because of a family scandal, he was forced to leave his home. He lived out the remaining forty years of his life wandering in bitter exile in the Christian north.
Peter Cole is the author of two collections of poetry, Rift (Station Hill) and Hymns & Qualms (Sheep Meadow), and has published nine books of translation from Hebrew and Arabic poetry and prose. Cole has received numerous awards for his poetry and translation, including the Modern Language Association-Scaglione Translation Prize for Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid (Princeton University Press) and the Times Literary Supplement-Porjes Hebrew Translation Prize for Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Princeton). He has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Cole, who makes his living as a translator and editor, has been visiting professor at Wesleyan University and Middlebury College. He lives in Jerusalem.