cover image We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics

Edited by Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel. Nightboat, $19.95 trade paper (462p) ISBN 978-1-64362-033-6

“shit, what the hell/ have I built,” writes Zavé Gayatri Martohardjono in a poem featured in this exciting and frank anthology of works by trans writers. Readers may have difficulty parsing the foreword’s distinction that poetry “isn’t revolutionary practice; poetry provides a way to inhabit revolutionary practice,” but they will feel the intensity and timeliness of the entries, such as in Harry Josephine Giles’s series of poems titled “Abolish the Police”: “ ‘Do you imagine,’ I say,/ ‘That I am not disturbed?/ I wish I could imagine an end/ to police untouched by revenge.’ ” Quieter moments of lyric observation are less common but nevertheless striking when they appear, as when Charles Theonia writes, “the pink of us is inside and highly specific.” The essaylike prose pieces mixed in helps characterize the history of trans activism, moving away from the demand that trans writers narrate their embodied experience—as Aaron El Sabrout asks, “What if my body was just a body?” Instead, this anthology imagines poetry as a resource by which the community might stand “against capital and empire,” using language to reimagine collective struggle. (Nov.)