This is a review by Cory Rohr of the book Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz, published by Timeless Infinite Light.
“I don’t particularly like riddles. But then again, neither did travelers passing through Thebes. They didn’t try to solve the Sphinx’s riddle because they craved the intellectual challenge. They tried to solve it because the Sphinx killed anyone who didn’t.”
In the face of a distrustful public, incredulous media, and abusive authority Amy Berkowitz exposes tender points–likely the only quantifiable identifiers of a deep, personal puzzle without a solution in sight. A sensitivity that cannot be proved is not trusted: this shaky proof is repeatedly disregarded by people that have not experienced it. And yet, Tender Points is a clear and vivid look into the muddied hurt below the surface, a novella in poems about living with pain. This work immediately establishes a distinct mode that compliments its subjects. The writing is hard and cutting, direct and purposeful; for flowery, garish, effeminate poetry would undermine the severity contained therein. In addition to avoiding discreditable writing, these poems decry suffering silently, especially at the hands of systematic oppression and sexual violence. Community members alike in their experiences or close enough to those within their network can alleviate the assaults of and exorcise misogyny.
“Welcome to the Myspace of my constant pain.”
But why write about pain? Does writing about pain help us connect with other people? Perhaps it is easier than answering every “how are you?” with “I am in a near-constant state of pain and today is no exception.” Or as a form of analysis? to draw out the atrocities of memory as an attempt to qualify them somehow?