Kim Addonizio grabs your sleeve and tugs you with brutal passion through her raw and vicious life. With unflinching sincerity, we soar through vignettes of unforgiving, brutal beauty wrapped in humorous observation and savage honesty. Kim has a knack of undressing sentimentality and revealing the naked ache of poignancy underneath.
This stunning little slice of inspection, retrospection, and deconstruction bites you, nibbles you, spits you out, and begs you to mourn and love and fail and triumph vibrantly. It's by turns a memoir and acerbic writing guide — the kind that informs how much your writing is, indeed, probably very terrible; but that's okay, because we're all exquisite little broken charms carving up our own empire of loss and fragmented grace. Recommended By Benvolio E., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A dazzling, edgy, laugh-out-loud memoir from the award-winning poet and novelist that reflects on writing, drinking, dating, and more
Kim Addonizio is used to being exposed. As a writer of provocative poems and stories, she has encountered success along with snark: one critic dismissed her as "Charles Bukowski in a sundress." ("Why not Walt Whitman in a sparkly tutu?" she muses.) Now, in this utterly original memoir in essays, she opens up to chronicle the joys and indignities in the life of a writer wandering through middle age.
Addonizio vividly captures moments of inspiration at the writing desk (or bed) and adventures on the road—from a champagne-and-vodka-fueled one-night stand at a writing conference to sparsely attended readings at remote Midwestern colleges. Her crackling, unfiltered wit brings colorful life to pieces like "What Writers Do All Day," "How to Fall for a Younger Man," and "Necrophilia" (that is, sexual attraction to men who are dead inside). And she turns a tender yet still comic eye to her family: her father, who sparked her love of poetry; her mother, a former tennis champion who struggled through Parkinson’s at the end of her life; and her daughter, who at a young age chanced upon some erotica she had written for Penthouse.
At once intimate and outrageous, Addonizio’s memoir radiates all the wit and heartbreak and ever-sexy grittiness that her fans have come to love—and that new readers will not soon forget.
Addonizio already known as an accomplished poet (Lucifer at the Starlite) and fiction writer (The Palace of Illusions) shows a knack for memoir as well in this essay collection. Organized according to no particular chronology the pieces serve as windows into the life of a successful mid career poet: the underpaid writing panels boozy conferences and daily struggle to actually get words down on page. Her writing is charmingly self aware at times confessional (a descriptor she likens to being tarred and feathered) but never apologetic. She wears her sexual misadventures her drinking habits and her anxieties over abandonment and failure like a badge if not of honor then of identity. The daughter of tennis champion Pauline Betz she writes stunningly about watching her mother's battle with Parkinson's disease as well as about her own experience as a mother to the actress Aya Cash. In the collection's eponymous essay Addonizio recalls learning that a critic had called her "Bukowski in a sundress" prompting a thoughtful critique of sexism that concludes with her suggestion that this icon of literary machismo might one day be known as "Kim Addonizio in pee stained pants." This is Addonizio in a nutshell: funny frank vulgar and just a little bit vulnerable. Agent: Rob McQuilkin Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (June) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Kim Addonizio’s work has been consistently funny, formally inventive, sexually positive, philosophically complex, and lyrically tight despite its chatty surface....Her new memoir is about drankin', druggin', fuckin', writin', and her relationships with her parents. What else is there?" The Stranger
"Somewhere between Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth and Amy Schumer’s stand-up exists Kim Addonizio’s style of storytelling: In her prose as in her poetry, she is at once biting and vulnerable, nostalgic without ever veering off into sentimentality, and delightfully contradictory in every way...creating a nuanced collage of what it means to be a female writer in the 20th century and beyond." Refinery29
"Addonizio’s essays provide an honest depiction of one woman’s struggle against the banalities, degradations, and disappointments of everyday life while attempting to make art, offering implicit guidance for readers embarking on their own creative pursuits and a voyeuristic opportunity for those curious about what the ‘writing life’ might entail....They chip away at the mysteries and assumed glamour of artistic production, generously providing insight into the experiences that both fuel and inhibit creation." Interview
"A poet and writer with decades of accolades, Addonizio...comes across as the outsider-insider, wine-swilling but clear-eyed....Accessible and unpretentious, sexy and funny, boastful and vulnerable, she’s the girlfriend who’s willing to dish, whether about 'How to Try to Stop Drinking So Much' or 'How to Succeed in Po Biz,' which ends, beautifully, with the command: 'Don’t be such a goddamned little baby.' This is a woman who, no matter the costume, you want to hear." The Village Voice
About the Author
A finalist for the National Book Award, Kim Addonizio has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Pushcart Prize. She divides her time between living in Oakland, California, and New York City.