Poetry News

At BOMB, Andrea Abi-Karam Discusses EXTRATRANSMISSION

By Harriet Staff
Andrea Abi-Karam, extratransmission, cover

Poet Andrea Abi-Karam, author of EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press), among other works, is interviewed by Davey Davis for BOMB. They delve into the book's "poetic critique of nationalism, patriarchy, and gender embedded in an explosive and unapologetic trauma narrative." An excerpt:

DD A fundamental theme of EXTRATRANSMISSION is the cyborg, and it got me thinking about the history of monstrous robotics in literature (Mary Shelley, Ambrose Bierce); about the difference between mechanical and digital AI; the differences between guns, drones, IEDs, tanks, fists. Do you distinguish between the mechanical and the digital as organizing principles?

AAK  EXTRATRANSMISSION is navigating these two forms, these two different types of cyborgs, simultaneously. One of the characters is an Iraq War veteran who has PTSD and no memory of family members or events. She uses a PDA or an iPhone or a computer as her external brain. She looks at photos before seeing family members to make sure she remembers their names. That character is responding to the tools of violence in war—explosions, improvised explosive devices, and so on. These are things that cause brain damage specifically. The military makes a type of weapon, and each war has a different signature weapon, and so each war also has a different signature injury that most people come away with when injured. With the war in Iraq (and the War on Terror in general), people come away with brain injuries, invisible injuries. The soldiers who survive come home and need to be cared for, and so the medical industrial complex responds, and in this case it responds by encouraging people to become cyborgs because they can’t function with what’s left of their body. So there’s all this stuff in the book about still having to navigate the same world with certain losses...

Read on at BOMB.

Originally Published: January 11th, 2019