cover image Museum of Accidents

Museum of Accidents

Rachel Zucker, . . Wave, $14 (82pp) ISBN 978-1-933517-42-1

This forth collection of poems by Zucker (The Bad Wife Handbook ) furthers her project to portray the dark underside of marriage and parenthood in 16 mostly long poems that are as formally wild as they are self-conscious and emotionally searing. Zucker's subject is not an unhappy marriage, but an average one, which, she wants to make clear, is full of as much pain, fear, lust and hopelessness as the fabled unions of some of her confessional forebears. There is happiness, too, but that's not the province of this book, in which romance can be reduced to a formula (“Thursday: we have sex (husband and I) lights on”), and a poem recounts how an audience member at a poetry reading says, after hearing the author read about her young son, “Someday, he'll grow up and read that and you'll pay.” In another, a fellow poet advises “the next time you feel yourself going dark/ in a poem, just don't, and see what happens,” yielding one of the oddest “happy” poems around. Zucker's willingness to put her own pain on display may frighten or even disgust some readers, but most will be grateful to find themselves less alone in their own everyday suffering. This is a book for all who seek what Zucker calls “the antidote for despair,” however elusive it may be. (Oct.)