Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader

with an afterword by Alysia Abbott 

Literature / Queer StudieseBooks


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The first retrospective collection of writing, illustrations, and comics by a hero of the Gay Liberation movement and Bay Area underground writing.

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Weight 1.2 lbs

eBook, Paperback

Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader is a landmark collection representing the visionary life’s work of beloved Bay Area luminary Steve Abbott. It brings together a broad cross-section of literary and artistic work spanning three decades of poetry, fiction, collage, comics, essays, and autobiography, including underground classics like, Lives of the Poets and Holy Terror, rare pieces of treasured ephemera, and previously unpublished material, representing a survey of Abbott’s multivalent practice, as well as reinforcing his essential role within the contemporary canon of queer arts.


Beautiful Aliens is a book of heart, urgency, intellect, and surprise. Yes, surprise! And not only for those unfamiliar with the writing and the work of this literary powerhouse, but also for those of us who have studied the yellowing pages of out of print books bearing his name. How much more there is to Steve Abbott than any of us could have guessed! Drawing on his experiences within and across communities, Steve Abbott wrote journalism, poetry, and narratives with a complex sympathy, sensitive to shifting cultural tides of the late twentieth century. As optimistic as amethyst, as alluring as his signature shades, as iconic and unexpected as the image of the fallen Tower, these writings assembled thoughtfully by Jamie Townsend are ready to bring down the whole brutish world with a single stab of lightening.

-Eric Sneathen
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ISBN: 9781643620152
Paperback, 300 pages, 5.5 x 8 in
Publication Date: 12/03/2019
Editor(s): Jamie Townsend

Beautiful Aliens featured in The New York Times’s New & Noteworthy!

Poet, journalist, critic, cartoonist and queer radical, Abbott burned bright in the Bay Area scene of the 1970s and ’80s. This vivid collection samples his generous, rangy talents.

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Steve Abbott (1943–1992) was a poet, critic, editor, novelist, and artist based in San Francisco …

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Jamie Townsend is a genderqueer poet, publisher, and editor living in Oakland, California. They are half responsible for Elderly, a publishing experiment and persistent hub of ebullience and disgust. They …

More about Jamie Townsend