Finalist, CBC Literary Competition

Her absence, this wanderer

Rachel Zolf’s first book of poetry, published in 1999, explores post-Holocaust Jewish identity and lesbian desire through a complex, multilayered textuality, seamlessly blending the erotic with the linguistic.

My favourite debut poetry book of the season…Brightly written in a pointillist style, it sings where you’d expect it to wail, and turns playful just when you anticipate pathos. The stunning centrepiece of the book…is a blunt, direct elegy as fine as hand-stitched lace. Zolf writes about the impossible, about events that defy poetry, in the only way possible—by making the unspeakable the silent, omitted undergrammar of her poems. —R.M. Vaughan, This Magazine

As an archivist, she faithfully records and restores fragments of historical reality; as a poet, she transmutes this historical material into a postmodernist collage…[Her] eroticization of language through lesbian desire…[is an] outstanding example of a new lesbian writing that is changing the contemporary literary scene.
—John C. Stout, torquere

Fierce, careful and incisive…these deep, finely crafted poems offer a satisfying narrative journey through a well-engaged struggle with life…knowing and being known, seeing and insisting on visibility. —Ann Decter, Prairie Fire Review of Books

Tell[ing] a story in a beautifully crafted language…this is a book worth reading, worth buying. It is hard to put down, though periodically necessary in order to absorb it all. Read slowly, listen. —Ian Roy, Arc Magazine