The Last Clear Narrative
(Wesleyan University Press 2004)
In her second collection of poems, Rachel Zucker returns to a more autobiographical stance and writes about the particulars of marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood-experiences that radically surprised her. But this is no simple reportage. With candor, humor, and compassion, Zucker discovers a new poetic territory: a landscape between story and fragment, a way of telling that is neither confessional nor intellectually detached. At the cliff-edge of narrative, a high place where language is the rope and falling the perception, Zucker’s poems are unsentimental, true to the disjunctive
experiences of loving, giving birth, raising a child, being lonely, being alive. A poetry of the body, of desire, about human frailty and strength, The Last Clear Narrative fills a void in the history of women writing about everyday experience and speaks to the nature of narrative itself.
“The poems in The Last Clear Narrative find a path to the unspeakable. By way of a fractured narrative, Rachel Zucker painstakingly documents death and birth, taking us deep into the experiences of that ‘stubborn body.’ The Last Clear Narrative seeks, and finds, a remarkable language the body can speak.” –Elisabeth Frost, author, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry