Poetry News

The New York Public Library's Favorite Recent Indie Press Approaches a Constant Frailty

By Harriet Staff


In "The Best Indie Press of the Past Week," The New York Public Library's Ian Baran points out books of poetry that "approach the frailty that is a constant throughout our lives, trapped in ourselves, trapped in imaginary worlds, trapped physically, [that] relate this in a way that communicate perseverance and communication, continually pushing past that, maybe to find strength, maybe to find community, but always to continue on." These include recent work from Amy Berkowitz, Niina Pollari, Ana Bozicevic, John Wieners, and Jorge Carrera Andrade. The NYPL's take on Berkowitz:

I had no expectations for Tender Points, no starting point, an author I did not know on a small indie press, yet with blurbs by some well known authors and critics, Amy Berkowitz seems to be well known in another scene.

With that said, wow, through a series of short essays, thoughts, meditations, shouting, conversations, Berkowitz puts through meaning in the form of emotion, and in so doing perfects the art of the essay, clearing the way for a discussion on personal topics.

Tender Points is able to relate experience in a way that explains and helps in creating an empathetic positioning, and yet also makes a personal plea with the honesty that Berkowitz shows. That honesty is what creates a text that has such emotion, though no entry is longer than a page or two. It is books like this, which make you wanting to keep reading, so that you can find more, books this honest that even at an older age, you are brought back to the books you read as a younger child and remember how you marveled at how much they transformed you.

This text, shows how the fragility of human existence carries on in an effort to process, to share and to carry on. Even through the Tender Points shared, Berkowitz continues on, seeking out an explanation and a way to let others know the hidden pain that faces herself, and, in reality, the pain that faces many people, many times under the surface of an existence that tries to keep going on. This is what makes the book so important, it focuses on conversations that are all too hidden, or conversations that people refuse to take part in.

I have been recommending this book to everyone I know, and that will not stop. It is an important read in this day and age that seems to all but forget that emotions exist and need to be shared, heard and have a potential to be reconciled.

With that said, wow. Read all of NYPL's indie press recommendations here.