"Punk." "Queer." "Anti-Imperialist." "Experimental." "Hot." These are the first few words that come to mind as I begin to describe Extratransmission. Unsurprisingly, they all still fall short at fully capturing this contemporary poetry essential. With roots in cyborg theory & an experimentation/investigation/exploration with lyric & form, Andrea Abi-Karam documents the traumatic impacts of war, ultimately (re)constructing the body into something that feels entirely new. Through all of this, Extratransmission demands vengeance. Read this book. Especially if you think poetry's not for you.
An attack on the bros, who exist as nothing more than antagonists that must be overcome. An attack on the cops, who serve nothing but the violence that they help to perpetuate. An attack on the military, the way it commodifies everything, and its' seemingly inescapable sense of control. An attack on the body, the ways it breaks down and malfunctions, and the ways one needs to constantly fight against it in order to barely stand upright. Never have I read poetry as viscerally intense as this collection.
Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. 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.
"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 distills so much rage & anger into a most ferocious concentration in these poems. As read I could feel them placing a switchblade into my hand, showing me how to use it as 'KILL BRO / KILL COP' repeated in my mind."--Adelaide, East Bay Booksellers
"Oh. My. God. Andrea is the genderqueer cyborg of my dreams, probably of your dreams, and definitely of bros nightmares. This is their critique of nationalism, patriarchy, and capitalism. I went to sleep thinking of horse hooves and woke up thinking of how memory informs all I do."--Kyliemax, Pegasus Books.