Zoë Hitzig’s first book of poems, MEZZANINE, is animated by a prismatic intelligence that alternately focuses and refracts different wavelengths of power at work in society. Hitzig’s work is palpably enriched by her scholarly background (she holds an AB in Mathematics and Philosophy, an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Economics), and though the poems are by turns direct and oblique, she cannily makes a key of her erudition rather than a lock.
As the collection’s title implies, the poems occupy an intermediary space – a ‘purgatory’, she says – in which Hitzig interweaves the factual and the experiential so that they come to buttress one another. Her poems sift modern history (of science, of justice, of feminism, of anthropology and economics), often in laconic and clipped constructions that assume a complicity with the reader, affording their gestures greater resonance.
Over the course of a quarantine week, Hitzig and I corresponded by email and a shared text document about the uses of poetry, the ethics of the paratextual, and more.