Montana Public Radio

Poetry’s Collective Language: A Conversation With Andrea Abi-Karam And Kay Gabriel

Feb 11, 2021

What does it mean to want it all? In the first of this two-part conversation, Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel, the editors of We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, discuss poetry’s role in political movement, the anthology’s collective language, and its many threads of abundant desire.

In the second part of this two-part conversation, they'll discuss poetry’s role in policy-making, the purpose of stating one’s desires, and the publishing industry’s fetishization of trans narratives.

An update on the legislation discussed in this segment: On January 26, 2021, House Bill 113 failed its third reading in the Montana House of Representatives and did not advance to the Senate. House Bill 112 advanced to the Senate a day later on the 27th.

This conversation contains adult language and references explicit sexual content.

You can listen to Andrea’s and Kay’s poems, collected in the anthology, at the end of each episode.

Listen to University of Montana alumna Rachel Franklin Wood’s contribution to the anthology, “Mud Effigy,” here.

About Andrea Abi-Karam:

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, and delayed healing. Andrea’s debut is EXTRATRANSMISSION. From Kelsey Street Press.

EXTRATRANSMISSION is a poetic critique of the U.S. military’s role in the War on Terror. Their second assemblage, Villainy, is forthcoming from Nightboat Books this fall. They are a Leo currently obsessed with queer terror and convertibles.

About Kay Gabriel:

Kay Gabriel is a poet and essayist. She’s the author of Kissing Other People or the House of Fame, forthcoming from Rosa Press. Kay has received fellowships from the Poetry Project, Lambda Literary, and Princeton University, where she recently completed her PhD. She’s a member of the editorial collective of the Poetry Project Newsletter.

Andrea recommends:

Detransition, Baby

by Torrey Peters (Penguin Random House)

Black Wave

by Michelle Tea (Feminist Press)

Kay recommends:


by Jackie Ess (Clash Books)

Lauren recommends:


by Xandria Phillips (Nightboat Books)

Time is the Thing a Body Moves Through

by T Fleischmann (Coffee House Press)

Beast Feast

by Cody-Rose Clevidence (Ahsahta Press)