Rachel Zucker sweeps all the corners in this maximalist project of poems and prose, navigating love, loss, and personal and political despair. Through heartbreaking, often comic, genre-non-conforming pieces spanning the past 10 years, she trains her relentless attention on marriage, motherhood, grief, the need to speak, depression, sex, and many other topics. Part poetry, part memoir, part lyric essay — and not limited by any of these categories—SoundMachine is a book written out of the persistent feeling that the human voice is both a meaningless sound and the only way we know we exist.
When Rachel Zucker quotes the Yiddish saying “Verter zol men vegn un nit tseyln. One should weigh words, not count them,” she captures the essence of SoundMachine’s ambitious project. These extended prose poems and meditations bravely create room for the heretical, confessional, and experimental. SoundMachine embodies critic Rachel Blau DuPlessis call for a “radical poetics” that draws on this “Jewish structure of feeling, this Jewish sense of textuality involved with endless writing, multiple commentary and vectors, endless deferral.”
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