"A poem is never going to be a copy of the real world or a mirror—it’s always a translation of experience and another experience in and of itself. Even seemingly unaltered photographs are composed and exposed, developed and printed in ways that mediate 'the body of real things' but, yes, I think there is truth in poetry. Truth in the sense of an attempt, not an absolute."—Rachel Zucker
"Zucker’s name-naming, carping, merciless, and gloriously human body of work thus far suggests that any full account of being an individual has to register how specimen-like and interchangeable our lives often seem." —Dan Chiasson, the New Yorker
"Rachel Zucker may be Generation X’s likeliest heir to the confessional legacy of Sylvia Plath, Louise Glück, and Sharon Olds . . . [S]he matches desperate, pained self-revelation with breakneck lines that spill in and out of long-lined verse and writhing prose." —Craig Morgan Teicher, the Believer
Rachel Zucker will give a lecture entitled "The Poetics of Wrongness."
Rachel Zucker was born in New York and grew up in Greenwich Village, the daughter of novelist Benjamin Zucker and storyteller Diane Wolkstein. She earned her BA at Yale University and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
The author of nine books, her most recent works include the double collection of prose and poetry, The Pedestrians (2014), and Museum of Accidents (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and MOTHERs (2013), a memoir narrating her complicated path to motherhood. With Arielle Greenberg, Zucker co-authored Home/birth: A Poemic (2010), a cross-genre nonfiction book about birth, friendship, and feminism.
Zucker's numerous awards include the 1999 Salt Hill Poetry Award, the 2000 Barrow Street Poetry Prize, the 2002 Center for Book Arts Award and, in 2012, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Her poems have appeared in many journals including: 3rd Bed, American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Columbia Review, Court Green, Epoch, Fence, Iowa Review, Pleiades and Prairie Schooner as well as in several anthologies including Not for Mothers Only, Legitimate Dangers, Best American Poetry 2001 and Best American Poetry 2014.
A certified labor doula and childbirth educator, Rachel Zucker lives in New York with her husband and sons, where she teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y.
real poem (personal statement)
I skim sadness like fat off the surface
of cooling soup. Don’t care about
metaphor but wish it would arrive
me. There’s a cool current of air
this hot day I want to ride.
I have no lover, not even my love.
I have no other, not even I.
The Pedestrians (2014)
Museum of Accidents (2009)
The Bad Wife Handbook (2007)
The Last Clear Narrative (2004)
Eating in the Underworld (2003)
Home/birth: a poemic (2010)