Seekers of Meaning 1/20/2023: Merle Feld Discusses Her New Book, Longing: Poems of a Life

On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, author Merle Feld discusses her new book, Longing: Poems of a Life.

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.

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About the Guest

Merle Feld

Merle Feld is a widely published poet, award-winning playwright, peace activist, and educator who has pioneered teaching writing as a spiritual practice. Her latest book is Longing, Poems of a Life (CCAR Press 2023). Her prose and poetry, including her signature poem about women and men standing at Sinai, can be found in numerous anthologies and prayer books. She is also the author of a highly acclaimed memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised edition 2007) and Finding Words, a book of poems (Behrman House Press 2011). 

Her theatre credits include Returning, Across the Jordan, and The Gates are Closing. A popular teacher internationally, Feld has facilitated Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on the West Bank and at Seeds of Peace and has worked with grassroots women community organizers in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. She serves as Founding Director of the Rabbinic Writing Institute, established in 2005, guiding rabbis across five denominations to develop and explore their own inner lives and to more effectively serve as spiritual leaders.

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