Confessional Sci-Fi: A Primer
In her latest collection, poet and novelist Kaschock (The Dottery
) evinces a fluid and playful relationship with both confessional poetry and science fiction, suggesting that neither can sufficiently establish a relationship to truth. What is confessional, after all, when “To scale these stories/ requires a system of pulleys and/ falsehoods./ Scaffolding. To clean/ things all the way up.” The book’s five long pieces are heavily engaged in worldbuilding, each piece serving as a window—“Windows are what make domesticity seem picturesque, in that windows make sculpture into painting”—into a richly developed narrative context. Whether the subject is a woman who is having an affair with a soon-to-be-demolished hotel called The Divine Lorraine or a suburban community that’s home to a host of suspicious characters and the site of a grisly murder, each piece is dense with activity and anxiety. The collection’s middle section, “The Fisherwoman’s Daughter,” functions as myth and ars poetica. Here, the importance of violence to Kaschock’s poetry becomes clear: “Myrtle’s life is like all life—dependent on the endless digestion of smaller deaths, on their incorporation into the work.” As much a noir adventure as it is a sci-fi confessional, Kaschock’s dynamic collection revels in expanding our understanding of genre, and life itself: “I wonder, Can what is not enough—be?