Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life

Coffee House Press. Essays on writing, moving among digression, reflection, imagination, and experience as a lover might, bringing art into the world. Boully’s essays are ripe with romance and sensual pleasures, drawing connections between the digression, reflection, imagination, and experience that characterize falling in love as well as the art of arranging words on a page. Literary theory, philosophy, and linguistics rub up against memory, dreamscapes, and fancy, making the practice of writing a metaphor for the illusory nature of experience. More information here.

“Anybody can have a thought—they cost nothing, on the internet—but to capture the drama of someone thinking on the page is a rare and difficult thing. That’s where the action of an essay is, and the intimacy too, and in Jenny Boully’s latest collection we draw so near the mind of the maker we seem to fall down through ourselves, into a new and wholly strange concentration. Betwixt-and-Between leaves behind an accurate record of the trouble Boully encounters in her search for the simplest way to say complex things about sincerity and beauty and love and happiness—and yes, all those shy hopes are here, all caught on the sly, in this wonder of a book.” —Charles D’Ambrosio

“In Betwixt-and-Between, Jenny Boully gathers disparate instances and encounters and weaves them into sumptuous lyric essays that—while deeply sensual—also reveal ‘the inner working of things.’ She inscribes the part of us between the world and the body, the space that receives the world, then turns it into a dream in order to more deeply understand it. In this new collection, Jenny Boully evokes knowledge’s ephemeral core, how it looks in the air or as a meadow, her brilliance inflected with lyric witchery.” —Carmen Giménez Smith

“I cherish my fevers because they begin to break down the edges of the self I’ve so meticulously constructed in my waking life. Jenny Boully’s sentences have a similar effect on me. She comes by her slippages and seams honestly. One gets the sense that she has straddled the space between waking and dreaming, not writing and writing, her whole life, and has something real to tell you about the time she’s spent in the in-between. You should follow her as far as you can go.” —Ander Monson

el cuerpo: un ensayo 

Zindo&Gafuri Ediciones. A beautifully designed bi-lingual Spanish translation of Jenny Boully's debut book, The Body: An EssayMore information here.

not merely because of the unknown 
that was stalking toward them

Tarpaulin Sky Press. In not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them, Jenny Boully presents us with a “deliciously creepy” swan song from Wendy Darling to Peter Pan. As in her previous book [one love affair]*, Boully reads between the lines of a text—in this case J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy—and emerges with the darker underside, with those sinister or subversive places merely echoed or hinted at. Funny, sinister, and heartbreaking by turns, not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them explores, in dreamy and dark prose, how we love, how we pine away, and how we never stop loving and pining away. Her Neverland is bawdy, bursting, and beautiful. More information here.

The Book of Beginnings and Endings: Essays

Sarabande Books. How does the story begin? How does it end? This is what The Book of Beginnings and Endings will tell you, but nothing more. The middle-with its arguments, segues, denouement-isn't there. These are beginnings that wave goodbye with the door flung wide open, endings that open in medias res. Throwing her voice in a feat of lyrical ventriloquism, Jenny Boully tunes into every station to open or close more than fifty books ranging in subject matter from physics and astronomy to literary theory and love. More information here.

[one love affair]*

Tarpaulin Sky Press. As with Jenny Boully’s debut book The Body, [one love affair]* is full of gaps and fissures and “seduces its reader by drawing unexpected but felicitous linkages between disparate citations from the history of literature,” a work that is “filled with the exegetical projection of our own imagination” (Christian Bök). Told through fragments that accrete through uncertain meanings, romanticized memories, and fleeting moments rather than clear narrative or linear time, [one love affair]* explores the spaces between too much and barely enough, fecundity and decay, the sublime and the disgusting, wholeness and emptiness, love and loneliness in a world where life can be interpreted as a series of love affairs that are “unwilling to complete.” More information here.

The Body: An Essay

Essay Press. Comprised of footnotes to a non-existent text, The Body: An Essay is a meditation on absence, loss, and disappearance that offers a guarded “narrative” of what may or may not be a love letter, a dream, a spiritual autobiography, a memoir, or a scholarly digression, a treatise on the relation of life to book. Christian Bök describes Boully’s groundbreaking text as one that “may simply annotate a fantastic biography from another reality, referring only to itself as a kind of dream within a dream...The reader can only fantasize about the original contexts that might have made such information significant to its author, and ultimately, implies that the body of any text consists of nothing but a void—filled with the exegetical projection of our own imagination.” First published in 2002 and excerpted in such anthologies as The Next American Essay and The Best American Poetry, The Body: An Essay continues to challenge conventional notions of plot and narrative, genre and form, theory and practice, unremittingly questioning the presumptive boundaries between reflection, imagination, and experience. More information here.

of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon: 
a book of failures

Coconut Books. "I've never come across a book with the conceit of Boully's latest, which explicitly presents 'poetic failures,'—'embarrassments, short-comings, and all'—written over the course of many years, mostly in thrall to the existential condition she aptly terms 'pining.' Her conclusion, which comes after waves of diverse poetic experiments have crashed and receded, is that 'nothing written will bring love.' It is a wise and unusual finding in a book filled with delicacy and resilience."—Maggie Nelson

"The speaker in these poems has been listening to our thoughts for years and transforming them into this book, which chronicles failures and their manifestations—the shiny things, the ephemera of what could have been. Jenny Boully is one of my favorite writers because of how much care she takes with language and with truth. This stunning collection highlights her incredible range as a poet. It is a breathtaking addition to her body of work."—Carmen Giménez Smith

"The imagery of Jenny Boully's of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon lurks somewhere in the filmic senses among Buñuel and Brakhage, mashing the natural and the metaphysical and the dreamed-of and the remembered-without-why. 'Night is urgent,' she writes amidst a text packed tight with bodies waiting among messed up road maps, waiting to be found, touched, loved. Later: 'I like to blame all of this on the time of year.' When the nausea meds and mushrooms and beers are not enough, these poems are nice and bright like knives, some shells to fit over your face and breathe with."—Blake Butler