Why Me?

by Rich Levy

This debut collection by poet Rich Levy reveals an original, and often humorous voice, that of husband, father, artist and executive, the voice of the aging modern man confronting the often absurd and hilarious dichotomies in our society.

Rich Levy's poem, "The Short Walk," was recently featured in the online journal Verse Daily.

"Rich Levy’s poetry asks an innocent question with no ready answer even as it delves into the ordinariness of daily life, Why me? This question leads of course to others: How does a man reconcile his longings with a half-satisfying daily life? And is it better to be aware of one’s little place in the world, or not?" ...

—REBECCA SPEARS, Read the full review

“Rich Levy is the Jacques Cousteau of American suburban life. He is deeply familiar with its strange, tentacled, bio-luminescent life forms—the dark space beneath a liquor cabinet, the solitary green dress hanging from a chair back, the locked bedroom door of the teenage child. Most of all, he knows the loneliness of the suburban American male, a non-endangered species, standing in his dark living room at 2 AM, hairy-backed and middle aged, looking at the moonlit backyard with longing for something he can’t name. Everything his poems reach for, they catch, in lucid images and sinuous lines, and a dark, humorous, and original sensibility.”

—TONY HOAGLAND, author of What Narcissism Means to Me

“Rich Levy’s poems are immediately engaging. Savvy, stunning, serious and funny at once. He has the ability to weave daily detail into a fabric so wide and well-textured, a reader might look around after a single poem and say, Why did I not notice all these things this way before?”

—NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, author of 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

“Take love, spiritual yearning, add wonder, rue, surprise, street savvy and literary sophistication, tenderness and joy, generosity, candor, wit, and clear thinking, and you might, if you’re lucky, end up with something like Rich Levy’s terrific collection, Why Me? But only Levy can make the gym floor ‘shimmer with drool’ at the dog show and launch a laugh at a “ticklish rip of language’ and transform again and again life’s stupefying disappointments into poems full of irresistible heart.”

—BARBARA RAS, author of One Hidden Stuff

“Rich Levy’s poems are densely peopled. A big, various cast of characters fills these pages, from a man buying greeting cards at Walgreens to Coleman Hawkins, friends and children, Robinson Jeffers and people watching Shakespeare in the park, so that the reader meets here a man embedded in community, feeling and fumbling his way through, trying to live an emotionally genuine life, by turns wry and disappointed, tender or comic or curdled. In others words, very much alive.”

—MARK DOTY, author of Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems

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Rich Levy was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1956, and raised on the north side of Chicago and in Sioux City, Iowa. He earned his MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and his poems have appeared in Callaloo, Pool, Boulevard, Gulf Coast, High Plains Literary Review, The Texas Observer, The Texas Review, and elsewhere. Since 1995, he has served as executive director of Inprint, a nonprofit literary arts organization based in Houston, Texas. He is a jazz obsessive, with a collection of recordings that borders on the obscene. He and his wife, Katie O’Harra, have three teenage children, two dogs, and one sleepy cat.