Novas Poéticas de Resistência: o século XXI em Portugal


Rachel Zolf

The Tolerance Project 

Love in the archive

for Kate


My lumberjack shirt is speaking among the bubbles

took them out of the liberry

working nostalgia like a new glove


The hour itself is lace, nipple of the clock

if cup if

me swallow you crouched on their capital

all over again is


Diving the absurd mostly when it makes sense

of your early work to see rough

through the layers sick higher

real women, big dimensions

from the point-of-view of a refined vampire


And oh how you women who are sealed

this hand over and this pass on

your pain management system a Morse piano

the human is easy happenstance fault of being

flesh and heart and liver and lungs and sweat


How dangerous this which skirts

between so real it lights up the clover

twisted no name, no hat

amid the mystic fields of

I wander'd and beheld a grove


Impermanent force

that changes how a system

evolves with time and should

I not have had I might have

rusted in the forest


Yours are looking exceptionally

interesting tonight

the original paintjob

shows through


Might I check out

that little ridge there?

















from The Tolerance Project

Useful bullshit


Hi Kristen, there is nothing in this that interests me.


All of the implied violence of the first section has become more explicit through imagery relating to the female body, mollusks and their shells.


Who is speaking why – dust bunnies and the holocaust? I don’t get it.


Trust the beginning of books. Lightness can mean “want of force” and the sound of gunfire using words suggesting invagination: “draped,” “aperture,” “diptych,” “gusset,” “purl,” “pleated” and “rivelled.”


You call this a performative nature? In my Lustrelessness, norm, form and function are revealed as blithely editable. I want my terminal degree, but we’re not competing.


We’re all encased in plastic, then turned into an intonation beyond the irrigated “pirate” mind. Why not center your poems – both physically and theoretically?


Be more visual and visceral. If love poems are written in pidgin python, try a vignette about difficult communication extended beyond linguistic articulation inside the mouth and in or near the genital area.


Polemic is a bad riposte against the triumph of “whimsy,” but I want poetry to be funny. You might want to give up entirely, learn to write linearly and do your memoir.


Thinking through these questions has been a difficult but pleasurable exercise.



Rachel Zolf’s fourth full-length book of poetry, Neighbour Procedure, was released by Coach House Books in spring, 2010. Zolf’s previous collections include Human Resources, which won the 2008 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, Masque, Shoot & Weep, and Her absence, this wanderer. Her work is included in anthologies such as Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics (Coach House) and a forthcoming anthology of conceptual writing from Les Figues Press. She has worked in documentary film and communications and was the founding poetry editor for The Walrus magazine. Her collaborative MFA in Creative Writing can be followed at Born in Toronto, Zolf lives in New York.