Tender Points

Product Details
$16.95  $15.76
Nightboat Books
Publish Date
5.2 X 0.4 X 7.6 inches | 0.4 pounds
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About the Author
Amy Berkowitz is a poet who mostly writes prose. She lives in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, which serves as the headquarters for her chapbook press, Mondo Bummer Books, as well as the venue for her reading series, Amy's Kitchen Organics. She's the author of two chapbooks: Lonely Toast (what to us press, 2010) and Listen to Her Heart (Spooky Girlfriend, 2012). Her work has also appeared in Dusie, Textsound, VIDA, and Where Eagles Dare, among other places. She was a 2014 writer in residence at Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery. Tender Points is her first book.

Tender Points does precisely what people are always saying can't be done--it combines a moving, distilled, literary journey with advocacy and even pedagogy, here about trauma, chronic pain, patriarchy, and more. Call it 'écriture féminine en homme, ' if you want (as Berkowitz does, with acid wit)--but whatever you call it, this is firm, high-stakes speech speaking truth to power, radiating beauty and fierceness from its inspiring insistence and persistence.--Maggie Nelson

Devastatingly and beautifully written.--Esmé Weijun Wang

"'Trauma is nonlinear, ' writes Berkowitz. I am impressed by the sensing form she makes. That has the day in it, as well as the night. The body, that is, in variable settings, frames and weathers. The stairs that 'climb up my arms and neck.' The 'I am bitterly jealous of people who can always go back to being a barista for a while.' This book is a kind of clutching and being there for real, and that is what I like. A book. That takes up. A visceral form.--Bhanu Kapil

Tender Points is one of those books that feels necessary. It takes on rape culture and cops and doctors, the whole long history of who gets to speak and how, who gets heard and who doesn't and why not. I wish this book wasn't as necessary as it is, but I'm so grateful to Amy for writing it.--Stephanie Young

[Berkowitz] demonstrates incisive wit and a tight control of language. Culturally wide-ranging, she draws on Freud, fiction writer Richard Brautigan, Sarah Winchester, the Riot Grrl punk-music movement, and Sex and The City, to texture and color...her work.--Britt Hultgren, The Intima

Tender Points puts words to the silent and brings images to the invisible as Berkowitz delves into both her own physical suffering as a result of the disease, and the emotional pain of trauma, rape culture, and patriarchy.--Feliks Garcia, The Offing

...Berkowitz never attempts to depersonalize the story. Reading the 122-page book feels like lying down next to her and listening to her body ache as she clicks through forums, flips through books, listens to noise music, and engages in a lot of reflecting. It's intensely intimate, almost overwhelmingly so, but it feels important the entire time.--Sarah Burke, East Bay Express

As Tender Points attests, a venue is also the structure with an emptiness at its center--'The hole is the story, ' in Berkowitz's evocative phrasing--that lets sound pass through to you. The venue itself is the other half of the attraction, the site of amplification and diminishment, what combines with what's happening to give it sense and inspire belief.--Eric Sneathen, Entropy

I read Tender Points in one day and went back to reread it the next. All my annotations are basically nods: 'Yes, ' I wrote. 'Me, too.' Tender Points was the first illness narrative I'd read in which the protagonist's journey through Susan Sontag's 'kingdom of the sick' doesn't end when the book does.--Amy Long, BOMB Magazine

In Tender Points, Amy Berkowitz wields short form prose like a hammer, carefully but forcefully pounding away at layers of personal experience to uncover her resilient core in spite of our culture's hypocrisy about authority, power, and pain.--Emily Oppenheimer, Full Stop

What Berkowitz offers us...is a radical tenderness: to be seen as we are, without the need of fixing, with full acknowledgment of the awfulness of it.--Carla Sofia Ferreira, EcoTheo Review