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 turn on intersections of the domestic and global. In a review of Museum of Accidents (2009), Boston Review critic Stephen Burt acknowledged that her poems’ “long, long lines…stutters and splutters and blanks and lists, can portray, with more verve than anyone else has brought to such tasks, what it is like to be this person, this mother and teacher, at wit’s end: exhilarated, exhausted, exasperated, and able to show how it feels.” Zucker herself addressed the relationship between “truth” and “experience” in her poetry in an interview for the Huffington Post: “A poem is never going to be a copy of the real world or a mirror—it's always a translation of experience and another experience in and of itself … but, yes, I think there is truth in poetry. Truth in the sense of an attempt, not an absolute.”
Zucker is the author of several poetry collections, including Museum of Accidents (2009), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and named one of the best poetry books of the year by Publishers Weekly; The Last Clear Narrative (2004); and Eating in the Underworld (2003).
With poet Arielle Greenberg, Zucker has co-edited the anthologies Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008) and Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (2010). Greenberg and Zucker also co-wrote Home/Birth: A Poemic (2011). Zucker’s work has been included in the anthologies Not For Mothers Only (2007) and Best American Poetry (2001).
Zucker’s honors include the Salt Hill Poetry Award, the Barrow Street Poetry Prize, the Center for Book Arts Award, and Prairie Schooner’s Strousse Award. She has taught at Fordham University and New York University.
Zucker is a certified labor doula and childbirth educator. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.
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