by Rachel Zucker

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Review

The first few poems in Museum of Accidents​ were difficult for me to get into at first - poetry is not usually my thing - but when I read "Long Lines to Stave Off Suicide" I was hooked; I had to read the rest of the book. There's a brutal honesty to some of the lines which struck me in a way I didn't know I was craving. Part of that might be because Rachel Zucker is a self-proclaimed experimental poet. Her poems flow across the over-sized pages, sometimes in stanzas, sometimes in chunks of almost prose-like text, and sometimes a single line at a time - often all in the same poem. 

The poems in Museum of Accidents narrate some of the frustrations and tragedies of Zucker's life during the first decade of the 21st century to such an extent I often found myself wondering why she bothered staying with her husband, for instance, if their marriage was so boring and seemingly unfulfilling, or why she kept having kids if she felt she could hardly handle the ones she already had. But then, that's rather the point.

Zucker traces the moments of married life with kids which are not the glamorous, humorous anecdotes of romanticized story-telling, and she rejects the criticism that her work should be more romanticized lest she hurt people's feelings. She tells of her struggles with post-partum depression, anxiety over simultaneously being an artist and mother, her lust for her husband and for men who are not her husband, a blighted ovum which never became the daughter she hoped for. Nothing she writes about is easy and her sometimes chaotic writing style helps to illustrate that. Very little is neat and tidy.

Her poem "More Accidents" illustrates this best with its last lines:

          "[death is not the accident] / life is".

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