Rachel Zolf  

Rachel Zolf’s poetic practice explores interrelated materialist questions concerning memory, history, knowledge, subjectivity and the conceptual limits of language and meaning. She is particularly interested in how ethics founders on the shoals of the political. Her fourth full-length book, Neighbour Procedure, was released by Coach House Books in 2010. Previous collections include Human Resources (Coach House, 2007), which won the 2008 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, Shoot & Weep (Nomados, 2008), from Human Resources (Belladonna books, 2005), Masque (The Mercury Press, 2004), finalist for the 2005 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and Her absence, this wanderer (BuschekBooks, 1999), finalist in the CBC Literary Competition. Her fifth full-length book of poetry, Janey’s Arcadia, which enacts the ravages of settler-colonialism on the Canadian west, is forthcoming with Coach House in Fall 2014. She is also working on a collection of essays re-examining the poetics of witness as part of her PhD in Media/Communication at the European Graduate School.

Zolf’s poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics (Coach House, 2009) and I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues, 2012). Her critical essays have appeared in publications such as Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics, Canadian Literature, Open Letter, West Coast Line and Jacket2. She was the founding poetry editor of Canada’s The Walrus magazine, has edited several books of poetry and sat on numerous arts juries. She has been awarded a Chalmers Arts Fellowship as well as multiple poetry, non-fiction, and video grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Bravo arts network. Her poetry has been translated into French, Portuguese and Spanish and into video art form.

Zolf has collaborated with other artists on various initiatives, including film/video, polyvocal performance and what could be the first collaborative MFA in Creative Writing ever, The Tolerance Project. She wrote the screenplay for New York artist Josiah McElheny’s film, The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture, which premiered at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2012; the screenplay was published in Josiah McElheny: Towards a Light Club (Hatje Cantz, 2013). Zolf has published art criticism and co-edited a book of media art criticism, Resonance: EMMEDIA Anthology of Critical Texts 2011/12. Besides giving talks, seminars and performances at academic and literary venues across North America, Zolf has also taught creative writing at The New School in New York and is currently an Assistant Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Her literary papers are housed at York University archives.

Back to Main Page
  Selected Publications    
  Neighbor Procedure   Neighbour Procedure Toronto, Coach House Books, 2010    
  Human Resources   Human Resources, Toronto, Coach House Books, 2007    
  Masque   Masque, Toronto, The Mercury Press, 2004    
  Selected Readings and Lectures    
  Holloway Series in Poetry, University of California, Berkeley    
  Brown University, Providence, RI    
  Columbia University, New York    
  John Ashbery Poetry Series, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY    
  The New School, New York, NY    
  State University of New York, Albany    
  Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, Alberta    
  The Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania    
  The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, New York City    
  Small Press Traffic, San Francisco    
  Belladonna Reading Series, New York City    
  Segue Foundation, New York City    
  Dia at the Hispanic Society, New York City    
  Pratt Institute, New York City    
  Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington    
  Kootenay School of Writing, Vancouver, British Columbia    
  Ottawa International Writers Festival, Ottawa, Ontario    
  University of Toronto, Ontario    
  York University, Toronto, Ontario    
  Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia    
  Spare Room Reading Series, Portland, Oregon    
  New Yipes Series, San Francisco    
  University of Calgary, Alberta    
  University of Winnipeg, Manitoba    
  University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta    
  Scream Literary Festival, Toronto, Ontario    
  Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario    
  McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario    
  Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario    
  Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba    
  University of Windsor, Ontario    
  Just Buffalo Reading Series, Buffalo, New York    
  Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario    
  Atwater Poetry Project, Montreal, Quebec    
  University of Waterloo, Ontario    
  Hillside Festival, Guelph, Ontario