Tender Points

Amy Berkowitz

“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, The Argonauts

Amy Berkowitz’s brilliant book-length lyric essay is now available as an ebook!  Named after the famously vague diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, a little-understood chronic pain condition that mostly affects women, the book describes Berkowitz’s experiences in short, episodic vignettes that are sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking. In straightforward, haunting and epigrammatic prose, Berkowitz makes the link between rape, trauma and women’s sick bodies clear and personal.  While that might sound like a bummer, the book’s beauty makes it uplifting to read. We are incredibly proud to be selling it.

Amy Berkowitz is the co-organizer of Sick Fest and the host of the Amy’s Kitchen Organics reading series. She lives in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco. More at

Tender Points was published in print by Timeless, Infinite Light. You can purchase it directly from Nightboat Books.



About the Author

Amy Berkowitz


But there’s this frustration I feel when I’m sitting with a brilliant and talented friend and I realize that for the past 20 or 30 minutes, we’ve just been talking about rape: our rapes, rape in general, rapists, rape culture, date rape, rape statistics, TV rape, rape apologists, rape flashbacks, celebrity rapists, our rapists.

In these moments, my anger vibrates inside me until it shakes loose and gains buoyancy. It floats up into the air, where it hovers directly above me and my friend and our conversation. There, it does a study for another painting called Brilliant Women Talking About Rape Again.

— Amy Berkowitz, Tender Points