ryki zuckerman


ryki zuckerman is a poet, editor, teacher, artist, and literary event coordinator. Her full-length book of poetry, Looking for Bora Bora, was published in April 2013 by Saddle Road Press. In 2015 two chapbooks of her poetry were published: the nothing that is (Benevolent Bird Press) and a bright nowhere (Foothills Publishing).  Her earlier chapbook, body of the work, was from Textile Bridge Press. She is a co-editor of Earth's Daughters, the longest continuously published feminist literary arts periodical in the United States. For Earth's Daughters, ryki curated and hosted the Gray Hair Reading Series, which is co-sponsored by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and by Just Buffalo Literary Center, in Buffalo, NY. (and which, in 2015, in its ninth season, tenth year, was partly funded by the New York State Council on the Arts by a grant administered by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.)  In addition, she curated and hosted Wordflight at Red Doors Series at Parkside Lutheran Church, Stowell Lounge, co-sponsored by Just Buffalo Literary Center.

These poems wrap sadness in a sweet coating. There's nostalgia for the lost days of childhood, for lost loved ones, mothers and fathers, the times. The poems serve up daily events and draw out the essence from them. The true purpose of the objects zuckerman uses is to connect us to the past, and the poems become the objects, the bridge to walk across. The poems move from the personal to the political, and political events become objects themselves to teach us things the poet has learned from them. The last poem, reincarnation,...describes how we came and how we left. "arrive with nothing, learn the names of stars..." A moving book.

-- Helen Ruggieri, author of The Character for Women (Foothills. 2002),
Glimmer Girls (Mayapple Press, 1999), The Poetess (Allegheny Mountain Press, 1981)


photo: Dale Anderson


"ryki zuckerman presents her work in lower case, and leavens it with a sometimes quite zany humor; but both belie the large and deeply serious vision. She ransacks a past that is personal and communal, encountering every kind of object in time, space, nature and art. She writes: “maybe this is the true purpose of objects: /to connect us to our past, to others’,/to awaken sleeping memories/and call them out to play.” Oh, that play--in language especially--a way to encounter at once pain and beauty, a way to comprehend generations of her family (especially her mother) and of all human history. She feels “a prisoner of a past/that lives only in fiction, in film,” yet her spirit cavorts with various artistic and popular icons, making them her own as she pays them homage.

ryki zuckerman penetrates the darkness of our times without ever surrendering to despair, thereby offering us a platform for courage. Hers is a magnificent, far-reaching, sustaining vision. Look carefully through her eyes."

    -David Landrey, Emeritus Professor of English, SUNY College at Buffalo,
      author of Consciousness Suite (Spuyten Duyvil. 2009)


New! Chapbooks, 2015:
a bright nowhere (Foothills Publishing, 2015; 40 pages, hand stitched, with cover art by Carol Case Siracuse). Available at Talking Leaves Books and also directly from the publisher (FootHills Publishing, PO Box 68, Kanona, NY 14856 --$10 plus $2.50 postage):


the nothing that is (Benevolent Bird Press. 2015). Available at Talking Leaves Bookstore. Buffalo, NY, and by mail from the publisher (Rootdrinker Institute, P.O. Box 522, Delmar, NY 12054 --$10 plus $2 postage).