cover image Villainy


Andrea Abi-Karam. Nightboat, $16.95 trade paper (134p) ISBN 978-1-64362-110-4

The innovative second collection from Abi-Karam (Extratransmission) addresses personal pleasure, political solidarity, and an inevitably changing and changeable body. “I’m trying more to complain about how the riot gets more imaginative attention than physical attention,” they write in a phrase characteristic of the collection’s discursive mode. But intimacy interrupts such pursuits: “I try to read theory but just think of you fucking me with your entire hand.” The collection uses lineated poems, slashed prose blocks, and all-caps exclamations to find a new way to communicate feeling, and the collective goal of imagining a safe and free future for queer people. Abi-Karam’s play with capitalization, “I WANT A BETTER APOCALYPSE THIS ONE SUCKS,” gives the collection a loud energy, but an interest in subtle variations across repeated passages, as well as in the interplay between irony and sincerity, will reward readers who pay attention. Abi-Karam writes with a revolutionary energy that invites the reader to rethink how a poem sounds, and what it can do on the page and beyond. (Sept.)