Cover Art: Katie Torn
Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer
October 15, 2019, ISBN 978-1-936919-69-7
from If The Future Is A Fetish
Phenomenology of I’m in hiding
Phenomenology of man at Mississippi bar calls me dyke & I feel seen
Phenomenology of I am trying to dissociate my queerness from my infidelity
Phenomenology of no one cares
Phenomenology of armpit hair
My friends say I look phenomenal
Phenomenology of yes I do
My mother wants to shave me secretly at night but sorry I am a phenomenon
Phenomenology of I have always been a liar
Phenomenology of accountability
I am part of a phenomenon but also I’m alone
Phenomenology of without them I’m immaculate
Phenomenology of I have given birth behind a closet door
Phenomenology of I have given birth without them
To be exited instead of entered is my favorite phenomenon
If The Future Is A Fetish by Sarah Sgro
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About If The Future Is A Fetish
In her debut poetry collection, If The Future Is A Fetish, Sgro explores a vision of motherhood severed from conventional ideas of partnership and family. Between tales of fraught monogamy and fleeting first fucks, she depicts the mother as a figure steeped in loss, depression, and dynamic sexual identity, bearing memory and trauma as their own kind of offspring. Collaging words from plant life experts, adolescent psychologists, and scholars, Sgro reckons with a longing for the future that is invested in queer desire, maternal drives, and the spaces in between.
Why are the poet and the poem so toxic and damned? Because they are carriers, processing liquid flushed from pleasure and damage. Sgro is opening space inside toxicity. When the space is born an impure baby, the poet wants the baby. The baby is a fetus, a fetish, a trauma-processing plant, a poem. The poems within If The Future Is A Fetish rage, pull back, smash down. It’s an open system. Sgro’s thrilling, monstrous poems are coming to touch you.
-Catherine Wagner, author of Nervous Device
For trauma survivors, our futures eroticize that which we lived through, scored as we are by our bodies’ pasts. Survival must affirm that future. In If The Future Is A Fetish, we experience a gravid violence, Sgro’s speaker the queer anorexic mother pulsating meaning into “basement operas” and “tenderilous” growth. This is a psychosexual novel-in-verse, one displeased with its phenomenologies but chanting them anyway. It wretches in Plathian disgust; coats its throat in 2 mg of Xanax; and consumes its daughters with Goya-level anguish. Paperclips itch under wrist skin, women soak through their True Religion jeans, an assemblage of lovers—J., A., M., and X.—function as a Greek chorus of S.’s sexual failings; and still, “the world returns like a dog to its vomit.” Rarely do I read a collection so succinct in its viscera, where there is a math to every gory line. How lucky am I to have read Sgro who writes with annihilating purpose about the body in absence, violation, vexation, abundance, and martyrdom. This debut collection is a lingual maelstrom, its music a steady waltz over the future’s piss.
-Natalie Eilbert, author of Indictus
About Sarah Sgro
Sarah Sgro is the author of the full-length collection If The Future Is A Fetish (YesYes Books 2019) and the chapbook Without Them I Am Still A Mother (Letter [r] Press 2017). Sgro earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Mississippi and is pursuing her Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo, where she studies waste in relation to gender and futurity. She previously served as Poetry Editor for the Yalobusha Review and as an editorial assistant for Guernica, and she currently reads poetry submissions for Muzzle. Her work appears in BOAAT, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Offing, and other journals.