Live Virtual Group Session: 1pm EST April 19th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session! We had 51 participants from the UK, Bahrain, Morocco, Turkey, Canada and 12 states including Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, and California.

Our text for the session was “Sci-Fi” by Tracy K. Smith. Looking at this poem, we considered the tension at the core of the poem. “Sci-fi” begins with promising language “no edges,” but quickly accumulates into a space that is empty, “unhinged.” The language of the poem creates discomfort with sibilant sounds, relentless future-tense verbs, and the turn of the poem on the word “but” that moves the mood from one of  hope to one of dread.  Participants seemed particularly struck by the contradictions in the text— the sense of control in an uncontrollable universe, the presence of realism/reality in a sci-fi universe, hope in a hopeless place. The final commenter turned the group discussion on its head, pointing to such hopeful images as the falling away gender distinctions, the absence of sexual threat, the eradication of early death, and the possibility of positive change. The poem, we concluded, in its very ambiguity trains us to entertain multiple readings and multiple ideas whenever we come together.

Our prompt for the session was “Write your Sci-Fi story.”

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session: Monday, April 20th at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.
History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,
Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.
Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,
Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.
For kicks, we'll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.
The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned
To the Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.
And yes, we'll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,
Eons from even our own moon, we'll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once
And for all, scrutable and safe.

Tracy K. Smith, "Sci-Fi" from Life on Mars. Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.
Source: Life on Mars (Graywolf Press, 2011)