JoAnna Novak and Raisa Tolchinsky: a Joint Reading and Book Launch

In their respective poetry collections, authors (and Evanston residents) JoAnna Novak and Raisa Tolchinsky explore the vastly different settings of the domestic home and the world of women's boxing. Yet both books, rooted in the body and the physical and mental constraints of femininity and gender roles, engage in separete but parallel tugs-of-war between desires, expectations, and realities. To celebrate the launch of DOMESTIREXIA (Soft Skull Press)Bookends & Beginnings will host its author JoAnna Novak for a joint reading with poet Raisa Tolchinsky, author of Glass Jaw (Persea Books).

Domestirexia goes beyond the entanglement of "domestic" and "anorexia" exploring a behind-closed-doors sensuality, borne in the concept of making home. Rote notions of home and the domestic are reimagined in these poems as estranging, excessive, and populated by unknowable characters. Exploring the visceral qualities of the everyday, JoAnna Novak's poems twist themselves into binds for the reader to undo or surrender to. These are poems about wanting to misbehave. Light voyeurism at home, with gin and cake.

Striking and big-hearted, Glass Jaw depicts the grit and glamor of women's boxing based on the poet's time training as a fighter in New York City. Beginning on the ropes, fighting back against the limitations of gender, Raisa Tolchinsky situates us within the dynamic context of the boxing gym, through both a chorus of named women boxers and a single fighter battling for her selfhood. Winner of the 2022 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry, Glass Jaw explores a quest as spiritual as it is physical through poems that are muscular, musical, ecstatic.

The event will take place downstairs at the MiniBar from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Both authors' books will be available for purchase and signing from 7:00 to 7:30 pm. This is the actual publication date for DOMESTIREXIA, so buy your copies at the event for first dibs!

This is a free event, but please register via Eventbrite.

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JoAnna Novak is the author of the memoir Contradiction Days: An Artist on the Verge of Motherhood. Her short story collection Meaningful Work won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest and was published by FC2. She is the author of the novel I Must Have You and three books of poetry: New LifeAbeyance, North America; and Noirmania. Novak’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and other publications. Her fourth book of poetry, DOMESTIREXIA, is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press.

Raisa Tolchinsky is the author of the poetry collection Glass Jaw (Persea Books, 2024), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize (2023). She has published poems in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Raisa earned her MFA from the University of Virginia and her B.A. from Bowdoin College. She was the 2022–2023 George Bennett Writer-in-Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School.

Event date: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2024 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Event address: 
1620 Orrington Ave
EVANSTON, IL 60201
Glass Jaw By Raisa Tolchinsky Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780892555796
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Persea - April 2nd, 2024

Domestirexia: Poems By JoAnna Novak Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781593767631
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull - July 16th, 2024