Longing: Poems of a Life

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Product Code: 978-0-88123-626-2

ISBN: 978-0-88123-626-2

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By Merle Feld
Foreword by Rabbi Rachel Adler, PhD

What do we long for as we carry the traumas of our past and look into the future with guarded hope? In Longing: Poems of a Life, acclaimed poet Merle Feld tells her intensely personal story while naming profound human experience. Feld opens forbidden doors and long-shuttered windows, peering through the lattices of memory at moments of anguish, breaking, blessing, surviving. We accompany her through early family violence, isolation, the discovery of community and love; we witness her climb from the loss of possibility to the assertion of self-worth and purpose. Threading through the years are conversations with a mother long gone--"a slip of a girl" whose misplaced loyalty and endless capacity for loving are both cautionary tale and guidepost. Deeply Jewish yet universal, these gripping poems will stay with you.

Table of Contents
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Featured on Kirkus Reviews' Best Indie Books of 2023

What is so compelling about Feld's writing is her ability to capture defining moments in her own life in ways that lead the reader to say, yes, I feel that way too. Her willingness to engage deeply with painful experiences of abuse and loss while also celebrating beauty and intimacy virtually ensures that readers will find many points of connection with this powerful book.
-- Judith Plaskow, PhD, coauthor of Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology

In Longing, Merle Feld opens her tender and strong heart, speaks from the depths of her being, and expresses in touching and heartrending poetry the sorrows and joys, trials and satisfactions that mark human life. This is a book that both disturbs and caresses the soul.
-- Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD, Chancellor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion

Merle Feld's bracing poetry deepens and challenges the Jewish canon, while finding language for the moments we might have otherwise buried or missed. This book is bravely personal, deeply stirring, unblinking. You will revisit your own truths in these poems, finding power and courage in her beautiful words.
-- Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew

I know I will read this book many times. It is that kind of book--one that you grow with. Read one page and you'll see: the truths Merle Feld reveals in Longing unlock everything, and leave everyone wide open.
-- Rabbi Noa Kushner, Founding Rabbi, The Kitchen, San Francisco

When I teach poetry workshops, I always begin by telling participants to kill the censor and write what they are afraid to write. In Longing: Poems of a Life, Merle Feld has done so with such strength and clarity; I'm gripped by her story. I should say, "her stories," for there are many--and they reach out in so many directions. Anger, shame, sweetness, love--what it's like to live through and beyond them all, and all with compassion.
-- Alicia Ostriker, New York State Poet Laureate Emerita

Feld's collection features poems of gripping immediacy, but they add up to a reflective, holistic view of a woman's life in which one sees beginnings shape a future and pain build compassion and strength. ... A fine collection that brings secret travails to life with passionate intensity.
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Longing is more of a life review, a work that reconstructs her past, especially her early childhood, in an extremely open and honest way. Whether it's through activism, poetry or mentoring, Feld remains motivated towards bringing about a better future. She's important to all readers who seek the sacred.
-- Aaron Howard, Jewish Herald-Voice

This book of poetry is indeed well titled for it contains the dreams and the aspirations ... of its author, expressed with incredible honesty. Read this book and it may give you the ability to dig deep into your own memories and the ability to feel safe enough to express them.
-- Rabbi Jack Riemer

Those already familiar with Feld's writings will definitely want to add this collection to their bookshelf. Poetry lovers unfamiliar with her work will want to read a copy to discover the delights and sorrows Feld so skillfully reveals.
-- Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter Group

Feld writes with a power, clarity, and frankness that is always memorable and occasionally breathtaking and thought-provoking. ... I recommend this book, and her others, as a potential source of inspiration for many.
-- Rabbi Dr. Charles Middleburgh, Dean, Leo Baeck College

Merle Feld shares her poem "Let my people go that they may serve You"
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ISBN 978-0-88123-626-2
Copyright © 2023
6" x 9"
.5 lbs (8.3 oz)
Page count: 112