Astro-bite: Notes on Liberation

Editor’s Note: A forthcoming collection of poetry titled Liberating the Astronauts by Christina M. Rau will be debuting in 2017. Tea & Fiction is very excited to share excerpts from the collection. From the Pointer Sisters doing the Neutron Dance to David Bowman’s exclamation while traveling through the stargate near Jupiter— from stealing Joan Didion’s sadness to erasing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby— this collection weaves its way through the paradoxical struggle of wanting freedom while fearing it.

In Liberating The Astronauts, we see that not fitting in gives us the freedom to stand out.


Knowing the astronauts means knowing your resources. In addition to those listed above,
Liberating The Astronauts relies on the following source materials to make sense of itself. See how many you know, and then know what you don’t:

Albert Einstein’s explained phenomena he couldn’t otherwise explain as “spooky action.”

The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture by William Irwin Thompson (St. Martin’s, 1996) is such a tremendous title that it now works as the title of a poem.

“Microsampling Mission” contains information available from Forbes Pigment Database via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . Most information is skewed because that’s what poets do.

The last two lines of “Dorm Life, Or Judith Learns Astronomy” are from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its sequel, 2010, and for a four-year-old, they are terrifying.

“Where To Go On A Rocket Ship” is based on the children’s board game Trivia Adventure (Pressman, 1986). If you have never played it, go play it now. Quizzar awaits.

The last two lines of “Space Is The Place” is a quote from Labyrinth. I watched that movie for the first time in 2016. I’d been missing out.

“Recalling Solaris” is a reorganized erasure poem using three chapters of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (Trans. Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox, NY: Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1961).  “(Or Maybe It Went Like This)” uses the same original text with a different pattern of erasure. The book is better than the movie.

“Reading The Surface” references
(1) From Open Plan at the Whitney 2016, Michael Heizer, Actual Size Munich Rotary
(2) From Sight Reading at the Morgan Library 2016, Joan Fontcuberta’s La Nausee
(3) From Sight Reading at the Morgan Library 2016, Maruice Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux’s Photographie Lunaire: Albategnius, Treisnecker, Manilus/Atalas photographique de la lune.
All are pieces of art that were made for this collection without knowing it.

Discover these allusions and more when Liberating The Atronauts launches in March 2017.

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