Feet In L.A., But My Womb Lives In Jerusalem, My Breath In Vermont


by Lori Levy


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About this book

What more could I ask for than a chair at your bright yellow table, high as clear skies, pine trees, and the dusty red roofs of Jerusalem.

Lori Levy’s delicate poems oscillate vividly between the sensation of dayenu-moments, when we feel perfectly whole and at peace —and our craving to experience more: more of this life, again, more of this place, or another place, of another moment. Levy merges nostalgia and carpe diem as she recalls important stations of her journeys between Vermont, Israel, and California. To love means to know well: a person, a place, a specific shade of light at a precise hour of the day, the taste of her mother-in-law’s kubeh dish. As we follow Levy’s memories of her longings, joys, and loves we are reminded of how we can find permanence in every impermanent moment, savored in the present.

Advance Praise

Reading through Lori Levy’s new book of poems takes my breath away. With no pretense whatsoever, they leap, alive, from the page until this reader felt as if she were living Levy’s life. How does the author do it? One answer might be: “It’s all in the roots…” Maybe it was the “green hills of Vermont that taught me to be still,” that allows her to “gaze at this stretch of green on the sands of Beer Sheva,” to embrace two tables of relatives on a Friday night in L.A. Levy is Whitman’s multitudes, she is Cat Steven’s wild, wild world, the song she and her husband have chosen as “our song.”  Levy’s new book is her answer to Mary Oliver’s question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?” Highly recommended. 

—Mary Jo Balistreri, author of Still.

Feet in LA, But My Womb Lives in Jerusalem, My Breath in Vermont, by Lori Levy, moves deftly between countries and cultures, landscapes and languages. A loving attachment to place and people, sometimes wistful, sometimes exuberant, is explored in these poems. We are transported through vivid descriptions of food, weather and memories particular to each location, yet somehow universal. One poem explores “Vermont:  steam in the air / on a cold winter day” while another describes the fluke of having missed a bombing, when the speaker stops to admire “silver rings / in the window of a jewelry shop / in Jerusalem.” In spite of the realistic challenges each location presents, this collection is infused with a celebration of life.

—Carol V. Davis, author of Below Zero

About the Author

Lori Levy’s poems have appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, Nimrod International Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Poetry East, and numerous other print and online literary journals in the U.S., the U.K., and Israel. Her work has also been published in medical humanities journals and in Jewish journals, including Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Jewish Journal, European Judaism, Shirim, and The Reform Jewish Quarterly. Her bilingual poetry book, In the Mood for Orange, was published in Israel in 2007, and her chapbook of color-related poems is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in the fall.

Levy lives with her extended family in Los Angeles, but “home” has also been Vermont and Israel and, for several months, Panama while visiting her son and granddaughters.