A vibrant collage of voices, Masque plays with the personal and the persona in a challenging exploration of media constructs and their effects on one family's private life. Stretching the limits of poetry, Masque features a cast of twenty-five, including the father, the sister, the philosopher, the Jew, Germaine Greer, the fan, the lesbian, and the writer. Zolf weaves found text with poetry, creating rich, often humourous, tableaux that resonate with colourful characters and surprising insights into the fraught spaces where the public stops and the private begins.
"Rachel Zolf's Masque is a fabulous antidote to the high moralism of the tediously common family-implosion narrative. I?d call this gem-like layered book space poetry, where text shatters the page and the speaking subject” the bits of received family wisdom” and wisdom's progenitors” exploding in black and grey like the Tower in the Tarot deck. Masque hides a greater promise of love and communication than any teleological narrative long poem. Original, intelligent and courageous."” Gail Scott
"Masque is an unnerving text, part polemic, part cri de coeur: the scattered lines, the violently interrupted voices, whispering, shouting, jostling one another, the traumatic past and reflective present painfully and inextricably bound together, add up to a charged battle for new relational and iterative ground. Here is where a formidable history of trauma gets turned around, in a woman's fierce, playful standoff with it, transformed by her rage and love."” Di Brandt
"Calling Masque a straightforward bildungsroman would be like calling Nicole Brossard's Mauve Desert a travel book. Masque is a rich and layered confection as informed by linguistic playfulness as it is by the confessional. Zolf proves that there are ways to write about the familiar and the familial that handily defeat both terms."” R.M. Vaughan
About the author
Rachel Zolf’s writing 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 books of poetry include Neighbour Procedure (2010); Human Resources (2007), which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award; Masque (2004), finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; and Her absence, this wanderer (1999). Among her many collaborations with other artists, she wrote the film The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women's Picture, directed by New York artist Josiah McElheny, which premiered at Art Basel Miami 2012. She has taught at New York’s The New School University and the University of Calgary.