Her absence, this wanderer by Syd Zolf

Her absence, this wanderer by Syd Zolf

Publication Date: 1999
71 pages
6 x 9 inches
Trade paperback
ISBN 9780969990482

Trade Paperback
(In stock)
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Syd (formerly Rachel) Zolf’s first book of poetry explores post-Holocaust Jewish identity and queer desire through a complex, multilayered textuality, seamlessly blending the erotic with the linguistic. As R.M. Vaughan noted in a 2000 review, “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. Understated and sharp, Her absence, this wanderer shows how sometimes less is more than we can bear.”

Praise for Her absence, this wanderer:

“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

About the Author

Syd (formerly Rachel) Zolf has published six books of poetry, including three with Coach House Books: Janey’s Arcadia (2014), Neighbour Procedure (2010), and Human Resources (2007); and a selected poetry, Social Poesis, with Wilfrid Laurier University Press (2019). Their theoretical text, No One’s Witness: A Monstrous Poetics (Duke UP, 2021) was a finalist for the 2022 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, presented by the Poetry Foundation. Honors also include a 2018 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a 2008 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and finalist for several other prizes, including two Lambda Literary Awards. Zolf’s poetry and essays have been widely published in journals and anthologies worldwide and translated into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Art films Zolf has written and/or directed have screened at venues such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam and White Cube Bermondsey. They have received over thirty poetry, video, creative nonfiction, and academic research grants and fellowships from institutions including the Leeway Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Zolf holds an MFA in poetry and a PhD in philosophy and is an Artist in Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Their literary papers are housed at York University Archives and Simon Fraser University Special Collections.