If The Future Is A Fetish (October 2019, YesYes Books)
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