1913 Press (April 2016)

Abra 1913 Cover Front

Available through the 1913 publisher’s website.

An artist’s publication, this paperback book contains the same text as the limited-edition artists’ book and free iOS app, Abra: A Living Text, but it is not simply a remediation of the text. Animating the printed page, the poem’s stanzas meld one into the next, each recycling language from the preceding. Illustrations by visual artist Zach Kleyn grow and mutate like a flip-book, eventually reaching across the gutter to meld with the text. These poems meditate on excess and mutation, and they attempt to enact an uncontrollable text on the surface of the page. The foil-stamped cover is based on an image by artist Peregrine Honig, which readers will discover emerging from the book’s creamy pages.


Selections from Abra can be found in 1913: A Journal of Forms, Peep/ShowJoyland Poetry, SPECS, Delirious Hem (click author photo for audio), Action YesBlack Warrior Review,  and a special Digital Poetry section of Drunken Boat curated by Jhave.

Selections also appear in the &Now Awards 3, edited by Megan Milks (Lake Forest College Press / &Now Books, 2015).


Are you serious not knowing Poetry Goddesses?  Prinking their raiments line after amazing line!  The United States doesn’t need another feckless Poet Laureate stinking up the libraries of the world!  No!  The world NEEDS to see the real poets of the United States!  The goddess poets!  I worship there because I have sense!  “song spun with lard and whiting in posy blanket” that’s what we’re talking about!  Let ABRA blow the doors open, it’s time to staple it to the wall with Borsuk & Durbin!  Open the book and let it all be done!
–CA Conrad


A cell calls to itself, splits: a caul is knit. In the intimacy of the not-self-same is birthed a third thing: a second sight. Just so in the clairvoyant, collaborative between-spaces ( media) of Abra’s triple play. A ‘rococo glow’, a ‘sparkle spasm’, a transcriptase strip-tease at once cellular and galactic. Can protein have a fantasy life? Does cancer wish to conquer?  Is thought just the comfort food our brain cells grant us while pursuing their own ends? The precise articulation of Abra reflects the considerable skill of its human compositors, yet hints at acute, occluded dramas unfolding just beyond human scales.
–Joyelle McSweeney