is a narrative fractured by trauma. Named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, the book-length lyric essay explores sexual violence, chronic pain, and patriarchy through lived experience and pop culture.
Originally published in 2015 by Timeless, Infinite Light, Tender Points is now available from Nightboat Books. The new Nightboat edition includes an afterword about how writing and reading from the book changed my life by connecting me with other chronically ill people and survivors. Tender Points is also available as an e-book from Emily Books.
Interested in teaching Tender Points? Check out the teaching guide we made. It also works nicely as a book group guide. If you’re teaching Tender Points and would like to invite me to virtually visit your class, feel free to reach out.
“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… This is firm, high-stakes speech speaking truth to power, radiating beauty and fierceness from its inspiring insistence and persistence.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
“Any feminist punk, nerd, arty woman who is struggling with ‘mystery’ illness should read TENDER POINTS. It’s the heaviest book in the best way, the kind that provides motivation.” —Sini Anderson, director of The Punk Singer and So Sick
“An exquisite, lyrical exploration of chronic pain, TENDER POINTS is a standout.” —The Kenyon Review
“Amy Berkowitz is a poet, which lends itself seamlessly to her careful, cutting memoir about fibromyalgia, trauma and identity. In this short, lyrical work the author takes an unflinching eye toward dark moments, bringing about understanding and resilience underneath.” —The Huffington Post
“I was entranced and moved by Amy Berkowitz’s TENDER POINTS. It’s a difficult book to describe (in a good way), a kind of personal detective story about trauma and the body that interrogates chronic pain literature and ’90s cartoons, noise music and Anne Carson, medical listserv comment boards and video art. It’s urgent, haunting, meticulously crafted, darkly comic, and it has the strangest, smartest structure of anything I’ve read this year. Truly unclassifiable. —Brian Gittis, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (FSG’s Favorite Books of 2016)
“TENDER POINTS is short and tough, a personal but unsentimental chronicle of trauma and chronic pain, delivered in a series of blunt, intimate fragments.” —Longreads
“TENDER POINTS is a stunning work of feminist literary nonfiction about trauma and chronic pain. I read it without stopping.”
—Johanna Fateman, co-editor of Last Days at Hot Slit