Tender Points (Timeless/Infinite Light)
The Argonauts (Graywolf Press)
Tender Points is a narrative fractured by trauma. Named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, the book-length lyric essay explores sexual violence, gendered illness, chronic pain, and patriarchy through the lenses of lived experience and pop culture (Twin Peaks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, noise music, etc.).
Praise for Tender Points"
"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
"'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
Amy Berkowitz is the author of Tender Points (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015). Her work has also appeared in Dusie, Textsound, Where Eagles Dare, and VIDA's Reports from the Field series. In 2014, she was a Writer in Residence at Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery. She lives in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, where she is the founding editor of Mondo Bummer Books and the host of the Amy's Kitchen Organics reading series.
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Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making. Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
Praise for The Argonauts
"What a dazzlingly generous, gloriously unpredictable book! Maggie Nelson shows us what it means to be real, offering a way of thinking that is as challenging as it is liberating. She invites us to 'pay homage to the transitive' and enjoy 'a becoming in which one never becomes.' Reading The Argonauts made me happier and freer." --Eula Biss
"Maggie Nelson cuts through our culture's prefabricated structures of thought and feeling with an intelligence whose ferocity is ultimately in the service of love. No piety is safe, no orthodoxy, no easy irony. The scare quotes burn off like fog." --Ben Lerner
"There isn't another critic alive like Maggie Nelson--who writes with such passion, clarity, explicitness, fluidity, playfulness, and generosity that she redefines what thinking can do today. Indeed, I come away from The Argonauts with a heady, excited sensation of having seen unveiled a new era of embodied, soulful rumination. Her impeccable sentences destroy doxa and gleefully remake the body politic; her prose seems air-borne, like an Argus-eyed levitator in touch with the divine. Buoyant, Nelson soars through art and philosophy and her own experiences with reckless mastery and insurrectionary ease--a virtuosity born of deep reflection and fearless trust in what literature, at its best, can do." --Wayne Koestenbaum
"In The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson turns 'making the personal public' into a romantic, intellectual wet dream. A gorgeous book, inventive, fearless, and full of heart." --Kim Gordon
"The Argonauts takes us on delicious journey into the real life intimacies and intricacies of queer love, sex, literature, and motherhood. Maggie Nelson's honesty, intelligence, humor and great writing transform what society might deem a radical, non-traditional lifestyle into the new desirable. A fucking gem of a book that touched and tickled all my sweet spots."--Annie Sprinkle
"Once again, Maggie Nelson has created awe-inspiring work, one that smartly calls bullshit on the places culture--radical subcultures included--stigmatize and misunderstand both maternity and queer family-making. With a fiercely vulnerable intelligence, Nelson leaves no area un-investigated, including her own heart. I know of no other book like this, and I know how crucially the culture needs it." --Michelle Tea
Maggie Nelson is the author of nine books of poetry and prose, many of which have become cult classics defying categorization. Her nonfiction titles include the New York Times bestseller The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, May 2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011; named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Bluets (Wave Books, 2009; named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years), The Red Parts: A Memoir (Free Press, 2007), and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (U of Iowa Press, 2007); her poetry titles includeSomething Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull, 2005; finalist for the PEN/ Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir). She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA in Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from Creative Capital, and an Arts Writers Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has taught literature and writing at the New School, Pratt Institute, and Wesleyan University. Since 2005 she has been on the faculty of the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. She lives in Los Angeles.