Forestalling sureties about what constitutes violence and feminism and the relationships between violence and feminism have been significant themes in the work of feminist International Relations theorist Marysia Zalewski. I follow how Zalewski, through her work and work with others including myself, interrupts well-trodden ‘trails’ of violence and feminism to open up thinking about both. I consider how her provocative work on violence and particularly feminist violence prefigures and advances cutting-edge critical thought on violence as represented in the ‘Histories of Violence’ project. What I call her ‘palimpsestic’ or multilayered and intertextual approach to violence reveals it as not only destructive, but also productive in terms of breaking with deadening conventions. I also consider her conceptualisation of feminist violence as both epistemic and militant over time in relation to some contemporary feminist insurgencies, the kinds of insurgencies that serve as her muses for breaking out of forms of ‘secured’ feminism and opening space for unbounded feminist thought. Consistent with her insistence that theory (and writing) should provide uncomfortable openings, not comforting foreclosures, I end not with a conclusion about her work, but rather echo her call to resist the kind of ‘knowing’ that suffocates critical thinking and (re)generative feminist thought.