Rachel Zolf

18 Jun 2018


Rachel Zolf, 2018 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Rachel Zolf, 2018 Pew Fellow. Photo by Brian Adams.


Rachel Zolf, Janey’s Arcadia cover, Coach House Books. Cover art from 1930s immigration brochure, photo courtesy of the artist.


Rachel Zolf, Neighbour Procedure cover, Coach House Books. Cover art by Nathan Kensinger, photo courtesy of the artist.

“At the center of my work is a preoccupation with responsibility and response-ability, how we are born into relation and the potential to bear witness to one another.”

Rachel Zolf is a poet whose work explores memory, history, ethics, and the limits of language. Their five books of poetry include Human Resources (2007), Neighbour Procedure (2010), and Janey’s Arcadia (2014), which they adapted into a short film that screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Pratt Institute, among others. Their in-progress work, A Language No One Speaks: The Dangerous Perhaps of Monstrous Witness, entwines their study of philosophy and poetry. Their many cross-disciplinary collaborations include writing The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture (2012), a 30-minute film directed by MacArthur Fellow Josiah McElheny, which premiered at Art Basel Miami Beach and went on to be featured at venues nationally and internationally, including the Wexner Center for the Arts and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain. Zolf is the recipient of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry (2008) and has been a finalist for the Vine Award for Literature (2016) and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry (2015; 2008). They holds a MFA in creative writing from The New School and a PhD in philosophy, art, and social thought from the European Graduate School.