Abi-Karam, Andrea. “Villainy”, Nightboat Books, 2021,
Coming-out in Public
In beautiful poetry, Andrea Abi-Karam explores “protest as a poetic formation’ and shows us that it is “desires that bring queers into public space.” Seeing poetry as a destination to being oneself, we go into the admonition that does not allow us to be real. We are taken through
emotional states and the desires of the queer community for acceptance. and desire to which queers must tend during protest. This is not easy and Abi-Karam demands of us to break the influence of today’s fascism and take on the antifascists, street medics, and queer exhibitionists as we risk the safety of our lives. We must act directly through demand and disruption and engage everyone. The goal is to bring down the hierarchy in order to “establish a participatory, temporary autonomous zone in which the targeted other can thrive.”
This is poetry that is anti-poetry that is very wise and confrontational. To make a new way we must “unmake” an older way and suffering comes with this. Andrea Abi-Karam uses language and the body as ways of becoming and unbecoming that lead us to new futures and possibilities. Here is the language for a new world and a new activism. It is intense, vital and relevant and impossible to define in a review of this kind.