Litquake is proud to host the San Francisco launch of Kim Addonizio's newest books, the memoir Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life, and the poetry collection Mortal Trash. She will be in conversation with Jen Siraganian, with book sales and signing to follow.
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.
Passionate and irreverent, Mortal Trash transports the readers into a world of wit, lament, and desire. In a section called “Over the Bright and Darkened Lands,” canonical poems are torqued into new shapes. “Except Thou Ravish Me,” reimagines John Donne’s famous “Batter my heart, Three-person’d God” as told from the perspective of a victim of domestic violence. Like Pablo Neruda, Addonizio hears “a swarm of objects that call without being answered”: hospital crash carts, lawn gnomes, Evian bottles, wind-up Christmas creches, edible panties, cracked mirrors. Whether comic, elegiac, or ironic, the poems in Mortal Trash remind us of the beauty and absurdity of our time on earth.