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Andrea Abi-Karam


    2019, 104 pages

    ISBN: 978-0932716897



    EXTRATRANSMISSION by Andrea Abi-Karam was selected by judge Bhanu Kapil as Winner of the 2017 Kelsey Street Press FIRSTS! Contest. EXTRATRANSMISSION is a poetic critique of nationalism, patriarchy & gender embedded in an explosive & unapologetic trauma narrative. It begins with an exhaustive loud, & unapologetic section on killing bros, the perpetrators of patriarchy, before entering a narrative of how traumatic brain injury occurs to bodies in modern warfare. The text labors over how memory constructs our identity, our constant experience, and how that can be destroyed in one of many empty military moments. The language pushes beyond conventional lyric and incorporates angry letters, prose pieces, a love poem, & intimate conversation while maintaining both an intense energy and constant movement. In resistance to how patriarchy and U.S. militarism produce the hypergendered subject, the text generates a genderqueer cyborg whose language comes together to form EXTRATRANSMISSION, a book that explicates how patriarchy, capitalism, & nationalism form the high rising global city that will tear your heart out.



    Andrea Abi-Karam is an arab-american genderqueer punk poet-performer cyborg, writing on the art of killing bros, the intricacies of cyborg bodies, trauma & delayed healing. Their chapbook THE AFTERMATH (Commune Editions, 2016) attempts to queer Fanon’s vision of how poetry fails to inspire revolution. Under the full Community Engagement Scholarship, Andrea received their MFA in Poetry from Mills College. With Drea Marina they co-hosted Words of Resistance (2012–2017) a monthly, radical, QTPOC open floor poetry series to fundraise for political prisoners' commissary funds. Selected by Bhanu Kapil, Andrea's first book is EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press, 2019) a poetic critique of the U.S. military's role in the War on Terror. Simone White selected their second assemblage, Villainy, for forthcoming publication. Andrea toured with Sister Spit in 2018 and has performed at RADAR, The Poetry Project, The STUD, Basilica Soundscape, TransVisionaries, Southern Exposure, Counterpulse, Poets House, Radius for Arab-American Writers. With Kay Gabriel they are co-editing an anthology of Radical Trans Poetics forthcoming from Nightboat Books. They are a leo currently obsessed with queer terror and convertibles.


    This is demanding prose that scrapes at the bones of psychic worlds. There's nothing accidental about a signature injury, Andrea Abi-Karam avers, and their searing interrogation of the wounds of militarization, masculinity, and trauma is unflinching yet implosive. From #metoo to war machines, every once-removed scale of violence comes crashing into each other, leaving the reader raw with implication. We are haunted with ledgers that can never be balanced.

    —Jasbir Puar


    As the war machine creates new casualties and new ways to produce them, Andrea Abi-Karam creates a new language and a new form to express their desire to shake the American public out of its lethargy. They bring their generosity of heart mixed to a real courage, as they do the opposite of what we do: Andrea "goes into it," as we say, they look in the face the incredible suffering that weapons which replaced rain shower on the people of the world. Pain is singular, it reaches its targets one at a time, and they seem to follow every soldier hurt as well as every individual they themselves killed or maimed. In these days of indifference to naked reality, Andrea dares be a writer of humanism, they dare to remind us that each one of us is somehow responsible for everything that is done in our name.

    —Etel Adnan


    We live in a country that has mastered the art of using our brains against us. I look to poets who comprehend this and employ new vocabularies and forms to emblazon paths—new neural hallways lead to threshold decisions about how to live our day to day lives. Andrea Abi-Karam has written a singular and imperative text landing on a way to acquire our maximum potential as rebel beings who can kill coercion dead so we can move together "beyond this one type of experience," perhaps the most threatening, and frightening, act we can take as beings.

    —Stacy Szymaszek




    Andrea Abi-Karam

    Interview in BOMB Magazine:

    Vengeance Poetry: Andrea Abi-Karam Interviewed by Davey Davis


    Review of EXTRANSMISSION in Brooklyn Rail:


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