Jenny Boully was born in 1976 in Korat, Thailand, and was raised in Texas. She graduated from Hollins University and received her MFA at the University of Notre Dame, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her other books include One Love Affair (Tarpaulin Sky Press.2006) and Book of Beginnings and Endings, forthcoming from Sarabande Books. Her work has been anthologized in The Next American Essay, The Best American Poetry and Great American Prose Poetry: From Poe to Present.
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 fantacize 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 2002, 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.
“From the most minute particulars of intimate confession to the long history of literary forms, from the body of the lover to the body of the text, note for note, Jenny Boully’s The Body: An Essay documents and destroys in equal measure. Retracing a personal history that simultaneously reenacts the history of the footnote itself, Boully has constructed an essay in which every note is a grace note. In doing so, she has deconstructed the essay as ‘creative non-fiction’—where the emphasis falls equally on all three of the words.” — Craig Dworkin
“A strange and magical performance. It resembles a novella overheard through a keyhole, or a nouvelle vague film beheld through a plume of Babylonian smoke. Jenny Boully's mini-epic makes its statement quietly, and with a devilish, terraced charm, like a Derridean outburst turned into topiary. If only Fauré were alive to set this magical Nocturne for the Left Hand to music!” — Wayne Koestenbaum