Magazine article World Literature Today

Rocket Fantastic

Magazine article World Literature Today

Rocket Fantastic

Article excerpt

Gabriella Calvocoressi. Rocket Fantastic. New York. Persea Books. 2017. 92 pages.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi takes us to a world that is at once arresting and comforting, both familiar and strange in her latest book, Rocket Fantastic. I did not want this book to end. It is wide open, vulnerable, and seductive-the most compelling thing I have read this year, without contest, and so very timely. So much of what we see in the world in this moment illustrates division, whereas these poems seek to coalesce. Calvocoressi takes us into a seemingly intergalactic realm through a smattering of characters, almost as if a twenty-first-century reimagining of a Dantean journey.

The many characters in Rocket Fantastic are, perhaps, a vision of an alternate reality where human expression and experience no longer rely on the strict confinement of gender categories. Central to this exploration is the Bandleader, whose gender is undefined and fluid. Rather than using a gendered pronoun, the Bandleader is marked by the musical symbol for the Italian term "dal segno," which is generally used as a navigation marker in sheet music. Fitting that this anchoring term is used to represent such a character, whose own experience and confession lead us into a greater understanding of what a genderless utopia might be like. …

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