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Poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi Experiments With A Genderless World

Courtesy of Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi has become less and less comfortable viewing the world through the prisms of sex or gender. 

This works out OK for Calvocoressi’s personal life where the poet encourages people to just use the name Gabrielle instead of “she" or "her." 

But exploring a genderless world was a little trickier to do in writing poetry, so Calvocoressi worked with editors to come up with a new option, the musical segno symbol that Calvocoressi tries out in the new collection “Rocket Fantastic” (Persea Books/2017).

The symbol stands in for personal pronouns and allows readers to engage with the poem’s content while leaving sex and gender as an open question. Calvocoressi’s collection explores the lives of people and animals whose individual stories may seem small, but when taken all together, explore questions of violence, grief, nature and familial relationships in the modern era.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Calvocoressi, professor of poetry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about the new collection. 

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.