Abi-Karam, Andrea and Kay Gabriel (editors). “We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics”, Nightboat Books, 2020.
A New Poetry
*Note— I used the synopsis of this book to form a review and you will recognize it if you have read anything about this text.
“We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics” isa collection of work from a dynamic range of writers, edited by Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel. The contributors recount their histories and imagine worlds in which need and desire are always met. The selections represent a world in which everything belongs to everyone.” Misogynist violence and trans joy are both everyday occurrences, We Want It All crafts space for the complications. The writers here were invited to be fluid an present a conversation around what gender can do as a form and as a possibility. By writing, it is possible to combat oppression and to ask difficult questions about the purpose and potential inherent in every person, every body. The writers here are hungry and possess a liveliness and urgency that comes together with the intention, rigor, beauty, and tenderness of everyday trans life. We read of abolition and decolonization, cam work and the State. The limits of genre and space are subverted, poetry is reconstructed and changed. New ideas are evident throughout as utopia and dystopia are dealt with in canon-defying to open the imagination and show collective and individual futures. The selections are an intergenerational constellation of radical trans writers from various locations and points of origin. The anthology embraces euphoria at the cross section of a fight for autonomy and liberation.
Writing in dialogue with emancipatory political movements, against capital, racism, empire, borders, prisons, ecological devastation. The writers present a different, overturned world in poems that pursue the particular and multiple trans relationships to desire, embodiment, housing, sex, ecology, history, pop culture and the working day.
The editors present this anthology as an experiment: how far can literature written and/or collected from a standpoint of identity. We see a new language and a new form to express the desire to shake the American public out of its lethargy. We see courage here as the writers face suffering. Pain is singular yet it reaches its targets one at a time. We live at a time of indifference and here we are reminded that each one of us is somehow responsible for everything that is done.