""Vulture in a cage," Solomon Ibn Gabirol's own self-description, is an apt image for a poet who was obsessed with the impediments posed by the body and the material world to the realization of his spiritual ambition of elevating his soul to the empyrean. Ibn Gabirol's poetry is enormously influential, laying the groundwork for generations of Hebrew poets who follow him--rocky and harsh, full of original imagery and barbed wit, and yet no one surpassed him for the limpid beauty of his devotional verse. His poetry is at once a record of the inner life of a tormented poet and a monument to the Judeo-Arabic culture that produced him. This book contains the most extensive collection of Ibn Gabirol's poetry ever published in English"-- Provided by publisher. "Solomon Ibn Gabirol was an Andalusian poet and Jewish philosopher, also traditionally known by his Latinized name Avicebron. He was born in Málaga around the year 1021 and is believed to have died around 1058 in Valencia. The present selection of Ibn Gabirol's poetry is by far the largest compilation of his poems that has appeared in English, yet it is not an attempt to suggest the sweep of his oeuvre. It is heavily weighted toward Ibn Gabirol's worldly poetry, especially toward that part of it in which his particular sensibility described above is evident, poems in which he speaks of himself, his struggles, accomplishments, frustrations, and anger. A selection of his nature, wine, and erotic poetry is included not merely to illustrate the lighter genres but as another way of displaying his unique voice. Likewise, the selection of religious poetry focuses on the more intimate kind of religious verse of which he was the pioneer, omitting (with one exception) his voluminous production of traditional-type liturgical poetry"-- Provided by publisher.