The son of one great musician (pianist Jakob Gimpel) and nephew of another (violinist Bronislaw Gimpel), Peter Gimpel absorbed early on a love for music which proved later to be a major influence in his writing.
Encouraged by Marta Feuchtwanger and Henry Miller, Gimpel
turned to writing in earnest while completing his formal education in Italy.
Returning to California, Gimpel served as a Post Graduate Research Classicist on the TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) at UC Irvine, where he produced the first comprehensive bibliography-containing more than 500 items-of Philodemus, the Epicurean philosopher whose work is known mainly from carbonized papyrus fragments.
While studying law at Loyola-Marymount University
(J.D. 1984), Gimpel
began the challenging task of organizing his
father's and uncle's papers and collecting and preserving master tapes of their performances, broadcasts and commercial recordings.
As curator of the emerging Jakob & Bronislaw Gimpel Archives, he
founded the Leonore Library of Musical Masters
, a commercial enterprise dedicated to keeping his
father's and uncle's extensive catalogue of recordings in circulation.
An advocate for scholarship and education in the humanistic tradition, Peter Gimpel is also the founder and director of Red Heifer Press, a publishing enterprise devoted to works of exceptional interest and merit in the humanities and literature, as well as to Torah and Judaica.
Increasingly disturbed by his
own alienation from Jewish life and culture, Peter
had already begun, in 1988, to seek out the Jewish heritage of his
Determined to integrate his
humanistic education with a new life of Torah observance and study, he
published a selection of his
poems, produced during the years of transition and conflict.
The collection, Twilight with Halfmoon Rising, received outstanding reviews in the Jewish Press
, which hailed Gimpel
as "A major Jewish poet in our midst-but major!
and "a rare breed among contemporary poets".
has kept himself aloof from current poetic trends and fashions, preferring a more classical rigor of form.
poems characteristically combine a rich contemporary diction with a complex rhetoric of logic, metaphor and allegory.
aspirations as a writer, Gimpel
confesses, "Ever since I read Hermann Hesse's The Bead Game as a boy, I wanted to write a story as if it were music.