I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom recently. Maybe it’s all the Mother’s Day hoopla or maybe it’s because I cannot consider the question of why I enjoy poetry readings or why (thanks Jeffrey) I might not suck as a reader without thinking about and acknowledging my mother, Diane Wolkstein.
My mother is a famous storyteller. I grew up watching her practice in front of the double full-length mirrors in the apartment upstairs where she wrote and rewrote and rehearsed alone and with musicians and other storytellers. I was such a good listener—so quiet—I was permitted to sit in the on-air studio at WNYC while she recorded her weekly program, “Stories from Many Lands.” From her I had an up-close portrait of a hard-working artist. Our relationship hasn’t always been smooth or uncomplicated; how could it have been?
In any case, I wanted to mention that Mayor Bloomberg has declared June 22nd DIANE WOLKSTEIN DAY in tribute of the 40 years of service my mother has given the city. She has been telling stories and inviting other storytellers to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park for 40 years. Maybe some of you have seen her there or read her books. If not, you should! On June 22nd and 23rd will be celebration with many world-class storytellers to honor my mother’s service and to promote storytelling in New York City. Check it out:
Poet and educator 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. Zucker’s expansive yet lyrical poems interrogate and deftly...