Rachel Zucker's The Last Clear Narrative is the bomb! Exclamation point!
Her second collection of poems, probably, has been the most influential collection I've read this summer. It's in a close tie with Spahr's Response. It definitely has informed my non-fiction writing the most.
The Last Clear Narrative is an intellectual autobiography of Zucker's experiences with herself knowledge, marriage, pregnancies, childbirth, death, and motherhood. These aren't just your straight-forward confessional poems, though. Zucker meshes memory with fragmented narrative and continually comments on narrative (or lack thereof) in order to craft brilliant and accurate poems. Much like Carly's book steam sequence, Zucker draws on second (or third generation) memory--as defined by my friend KK--the memory of children of survivors of trauma, essentially--in this case, of the Holocaust. In fact, as I was reading Zucker's book, I kept thinking to myself that I should have read it right after I read Carly's book. They would have made quite a pair.
Of course, I'm fascinated with Zucker's notions of memory and narrative b/c I'm obsessing about both of those things as I work on my sister essays.
There are many other glowing attributes in this collection: the sarcastic humor, the unpretentious language, the gorgeous music, the visceral honesty, the thoughtful logic, the control of white space and lack of punctuation, the dead-on pacing, the kick-ass punch of so many single lines...
Normally, I devour books, but this one I savored for a few days. It tastes so good.
I feel like there is so much I'm leaving out. I talked with KA about it last night, and I think I was more articulate then. (Don't you hate it when that happens?)
Here are a few of my fav lines:
"...I tend to doubt
his hazy reportage." (page 2)
and happen to be here--
where I am
which changes and is always,
from my point of view, first person." (page 5)
"...I'd like to describe myself as she
but am only myself and you--not separate
or symbiotic..." (page 43)
" The essay is too easy
to dissemble. The sentence
sickens, then dismisses:" (page 45)
"when will I measure my life
by the by or sentence again" (page 50)
" ....to express self or not self
to unimagine the house it-self is no new idea" (page 70)
(Of course, I'm biased to these line for my own selfish reasons.)
My fav poems:
"Endnotes for What the Living Look Like"
"I Cannot Write Essays, Will Not Be Famous"
"What I Want You to See Is She When Not Here As In Now"
One of my new favorite poets:
5 out of 5 fragmented Hello Kittys
OMG, I so HAVE TO BUY her new collection when it comes out in October!