“Orphan is well constructed—each section builds on the previous section, and the movement across the book is gentle and lilting. Hard-won wisdom pervades the book, which is all the more poignant because Heller Levi refuses to engage in self-congratulation. The poems never insist on having the only perspective on a concern. The result is remarkably graceful; quiet in the best sense of the word.”
—The Philadelphia Review of Books
Available in print.
Jan Heller Levi is the author of three books of poetry, Once I Gazed at You in Wonder, Skyspeak, and Orphan. She is the editor of A Muriel Rukeyser Reader and consulting editor on the 2005 reissue of The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser. She is also coeditor, with Sara Miles, of Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan and the co-editor, with Christoph Keller, of We're On: a June Jordan Reader. Levi lives in New York City with her husband, the Swiss-born novelist and playwright, Christoph Keller, with whom she is completing a biography of Rukeyser. She teaches at Hunter College.
“. . .Orphan is a collection of strong poems, of honest emotion, and in spite of its title and the loneliness that’s present in many places, it is a collection that sings.”
Previous Praise for Jan Heller Levi:
“. . .a poet whose humanity encompasses both our urge for completeness and our necessary dwelling in the work-in-progress of the world.”
“Jan Heller Levi’s work countervails the implications of this curmudgeonly koan with passional, self-critical intelligence. Ardent yet free of gush, the spontaneity and conversational ease of her poems assure that the quality of wonder, like that of mercy, is not strained.”
“…it’s Levi’s humanity that ultimately won’t let you loose, words as direct as bullets, as kisses.”
More by Jan Heller Levi: