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About this poet

Rachel Zucker was born in 1971 in New York City and was raised in Greenwich Village. She earned her BA in psychology at Yale University, then her MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa.

Zucker is the author of five books of poetry: The Pedestrians (Wave Books, 2014), Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009), The Bad Wife Handbook (Wesleyan University Press, 2007), The Last Clear Narrative (Wesleyan University Press, 2004), and Eating in the Underworld (Wesleyan University Press, 2003). In addition to her poetry collections, Zucker has also published a memoir, MOTHERs (Counterpath Press, 2013), which details Zucker's relationship with her mother, as well as the various surrogate mothers and female mentors she has had in her life.

Zucker's work is known for its blunt, witty, and complicated takes on marriage, motherhood, familial relationships, and daily challenges. Dan Chiasson writes, “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.”

“Zucker is a poet of bottom-scraping, blood-chilling existential anxiety, one among many, and a poet of New York City, one among many, and a poet of American Jewish inheritance, one among many, and one of the funniest, too,” writes Stephen Burt.

Her honors include the Barrow Street Poetry Prize; the Center for Book Arts Award, judged by Lynn Emanuel; the Salt Hill Poetry Award, judged by C. D. Wright; and the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner. In 2012, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Zucker currently teaches at New York University and the 92nd Street Y and is a certified labor doula. She lives in New York City.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
The Pedestrians (Wave Books, 2014)
Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009)
The Bad Wife Handbook (Wesleyan University Press, 2007)
The Last Clear Narrative (Wesleyan University Press, 2004)
Eating in the Underworld (Wesleyan University Press, 2003)

Nonfiction
MOTHERs (Counterpath Press, 2013)

After Baby After Baby

Rachel Zucker
When we made love you had 
the dense body of a Doberman
and the square head of a Rottweiler.

With my eyes closed I saw: 
a light green plate with seared scallops
and a perfect fillet of salmon on a cedar plank.

Now I am safe in the deep V of a weekday 
wanting to tell you how the world 
is full of street signs and strollers
and pregnant women in spandex.

The bed and desk both want me. 
The windows, the view, the idea of Paris.

With my minutes, I chip away at the idiom, 
an unmarked pebble in a fast current. Later, 
on my way to the store, a boy with a basketball 
yells, You scared? to someone else, and the things 
on the list to buy come home with me.
And the baby. And your body.

From Museum of Accidents by Rachel Zucker. Copyright © 2010 by Rachel Zucker. Used by permission of Wave Books.

From Museum of Accidents by Rachel Zucker. Copyright © 2010 by Rachel Zucker. Used by permission of Wave Books.

Rachel Zucker

Rachel Zucker

Rachel Zucker was born in 1971 in New York City and was raised in Greenwich Village. She earned her BA in psychology at Yale University, then her MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa.

by this poet

poem
The other day Matt Rohrer said,
the next time you feel yourself going dark
in a poem, just don't, and see what happens.

That was when Matt, Deborah Landau,
Catherine Barnett, and I were chatting,
on our way to somewhere and something else.

In her office, a few minutes earlier, Deborah
had asked, are you happy
poem
A mouse went to see his mother.  When his car broke down he bought a bike.
When the bike wore out he bought skates.  When the skates wore down he ran.
He ran until his sneakers wore through.  Then he walked.  He walked and 
walked, almost walked his feet through so he bought new ones.  His mother was 
happy to
poem
At home, the bells were a high light-yellow
with no silver or gray just buttercup or sugar-and-lemon.

Here bodies are lined in blue against the sea.
And where red is red there is only red.

I have to be blue to bathe in the sea.
Red, to live in the red room with red air

to rest my head, red cheek down, on the