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The Body: An Essay Paperback – April 25, 2002

9 customer reviews

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Paperback, April 25, 2002
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Editorial Reviews


Boully has succeeded in constructing a fragmented, aphoristic work... and her text seduces its reader... -- Maisonneuve

Boully's book is...a restless effort, curious and full of rich curiosities... a courageous and thoughtful new voice in literature. -- Verse

The Body coheres as the book of a personality, entertaining, slightly brittle, prematurely jaded, pleasantly brassy. -- The Boston Review

From the Publisher

Advance praise for The Body:

This book excites me, with its wit and with its difference. In a menaced time, when sentimental addictions are more futile than ever, we really do need someone smart who speaks near us. Intelligence is the sanctifying grace of poetry; Boully's lets words find us again, when we are sick with strategies of avoidance. She works by leading us ever deeper into the act she proposes, this reading pleasure, and there she catches us reading , and prances round us to show us where we are. In these delicious footnotes to an elided text, maybe her greatest achievement is the formal one of realizing that poems themselves are footnotes to an immense silence. - Robert Kelly

The second-thought made brilliant. Story shadows essay shadows poem. Boully's after-touch on the world of book culture is evocative and earthy and light. - Thalia Field

In a recent issue of Seneca Review devoted to the 'lyric essay,' I encountered The Body by Jenny Boully, a prose poem (or so it seemed to me) consisting exclusively of footnotes to an absent text. It's terrific, and it makes me want to read a lot more by this obviously talented poet. - David Lehman


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Slope Editions; 1st edition (April 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971821909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971821903
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,786,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mp on August 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
One time, I was watching The X-Files, and Mulder told Scully that dreams were answers to questions we haven't yet learned how to ask. I've read through Jenny Boully's 2002 collection of footnote-poems, "The Body: An Essay," three times now, and that thought keeps going through my mind. If this is, as the subtitle suggests, an essay, we must ask ourselves what the essay is about. From the very start, we are given a series of images and ideas which are developed, inverted, repeated, and questioned throughout; the bicycle, the dream, the text, the Bloomian anxiety of influence, and in all of these, as well as in its own way, as the title suggests, the physical body.
In "The Body," Boully does no more than any curious person does in internally debating the nature of existence, the purpose of literature, the meaning of love - but the way she does it is no less than calling to a memorable reckoning the history of human thought and writing. From the Bible to Laurence Sterne to Lacan, and much of what comes in between (and before/after), the scope and breadth of Boully's exposure and knowledge of what has been written on the subjects she treats is obvious in her engagements with and struggles to mine those sources and adapt them to her own purposes. What seems to result is a statement that these revered authorities have never been able to provide an answer to the questions that plague our attempts at epistemological clarity - and she is humble enough not to try offering her own work itself as an answer, but instead as a reevaluation of the questions.
Footnotes as footnotes are meant to illuminate or clarify the text to which they are appended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, written by Jenny Boully, is an enjoyable, radical, & thoughtful journey through the labyrinths of memory. The Body deals with the nature of the self, the nature of the un/real, the nature of surfaces and strata. Subtext becomes text begets subtext, or something like that...I don't know if anyone has written a book full of footnotes-only before, but Jenny Boully has here & it's not just an empty, silly experiment with form, she uses the footnote to hint that there's something larger out there, unsaid, & hanging over us. Her narrator reflects this kind of paranoia at the Great Unknown, but it's not a grating voice, it's a guiding voice. If you're tired of today's generic poetry and fiction, try this book - you won't see anything else like it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend told me about this book, and when I opened a copy - voila! - no text? It's like a memoir or diary written in footnotes and in someone else's hands it might not have come off too well. The author is wry and funny, down to earth, poking fun at herself, her relationships, and especially the literary world. It's hilarious that she mentions "Robert Kelly" in one of the footnotes and - lo and behold - he is one of the people praising the book on the back cover! Weird, very fun, and very unique stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I X Key on April 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
The language of this book is so idiosyncratic; how she phrases each thing she says is so unique, feels so strange. & the thoughts she has throughout this book, the whole way through without letting up ever, are brilliant. It's all very exciting. You know by now from what else you've read of heard about this book that it's all footnotes to an elided text, as poetry is the footnotes to a great unknown above us. The footnotes flow from the mysterious text, not from one another, so there's never any knowing what will happen next. Things open, & don't resolve. Instead, there's more opening. Another major stylistic decision of hers is that she eschews the post-Eliot evasive techniques so prevalent in modern poetry, directly communicating all these interesting thoughts & situations, metaphorical & otherwise, though this marvelously unique language. So it is an innovative book all around. I wonder what tdhe next book she publishes will be like. I foresee an exciting career ahead of her.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bingo on August 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Body is not merely a book, but a true tour de force debut: it is a celluloid strip in syllablles, stanzas, vowels, consonants, of one wonder after the next. Ms. Boully's language defies most paramaters of the conventional, but manages to pay homage to those voices of the past. I certainly do not like to compare one poet to the next because it is simply not fair to anyone involved, but one can clearly see that Ms. Boully is a well read, and well versed human being hellbent on changing things up. I anxiously await Ms. Boully's next volume. Bravo!

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