Jesse Ball at a restaurant in Shaoxing, China, on July 31, 2012
June 7, 1978 |
Port Jefferson, New York
Jesse Ball (born June 7, 1978) is an American poet and novelist. He has published novels, volumes of poetry, short prose, and drawings. His works are distinguished by the use of a spare style and have been compared to those of Franz Kafka, Italo Calvino, and Jorge Luis Borges.
Early Life and Education
Ball was born into a middle-class, English-speaking Irish-Sicilian family in Port Jefferson, New York, on Long Island. Ball's father worked in Medicaid; his mother worked in libraries. His brother, Abram, was born with downs syndrome and attended a school some distance from the place where they lived. Ball attended Port Jefferson High School, and matriculated at Vassar College.
Following Vassar, Ball attended Columbia University, where he earned an MFA and met the poet Richard Howard. Howard helped the then 24-year-old poet publish his first volume, March Book, with Grove Press.
Ball's fiction and poetry have appeared in many national journals, among them The New Republic, Circumference, Oberon, Agenda (UK), The Paris Review, Guernica Magazine, The Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, and Conduit. In 2006, his poem "Speech in a Chamber" was chosen for the anthology The Best American Poetry 2006. His 2014 book Silence Once Begun was reviewed by literary critic James Wood in the New Yorker in February 2014  and by novelist Helen Oyeyemi in March 2014 in the New York Times. Oyeyemi writes that in this novel, Ball relates "tragedy in a language that combines subtlety and simplicity in such a way that it causes a reader to go carefully, not wanting to miss a word."
- Silence Once Begun (New York, NY: Pantheon, 2014) 
- The NOW Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (contributor)
- The Curfew (New York, NY: Vintage, 2011)
- The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008 (Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2011)
- omnibus containing: Parables and Lies; Picnic in Ten Years' Time; Amok Book; Pieter Emily; The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp & Carr; The Skin Feat
- The Way Through Doors (New York, NY: Vintage, 2009)
- Guernica Magazine, Pieter Emily (serialized in three parts)
- Parables & Lies (Lincoln, NE: The Cupboard Pamphlet, 2007)
- Samedi the Deafness (New York, NY: Vintage, 2007)
- Poetry Daily Anthology "I Followed a Ribbon"
- Denver Quarterly, "A Project"
- Conduit, no. 17, "Autoptic 7" "Auturgy Refrain"
- Vera & Linus. With Thórdís Björnsdóttir. (Reykjavík: Nyhil, 2006)
- Og svo kom nóttin, Drawings. With Thórdís Björnsdóttir. (Reykjavík: Nyhil, 2006)
- Best American Poetry 2006 (Scribner 2006): "Speech in a Chamber"
- Purple Fiction. Spring 2006: "Samedi the Deafness Serialized Aserialized" (excerpt)
- Conduit. no. 17, 2006: "Method for Waylayers Devised By L. For Practical Use"
- Reykjavik Grapevine. Sept. 2006: 2.19.1 from Vera & Linus.
- Denver Quarterly. 2006: "Missive in an Icelandic Room, 3"
- Af Ljodum, "Inside the Stove" (Nyhil 2005)
- The Light of City and Sea, "Cares" "Cedar Hill" (Street Press 2005)
- Denver Quarterly. 2005: "Asking Advice of the Scissors in its Small Drawer" "Balloon Diary, Week of the Pastoral Revolt" "The Distressing Effect of Rumors"
- Paris Review. Issue 174, Summer 2005: "Speech in a Chamber" "Speech by a Window" "Autoptic 4" I followed A Ribbon" "Autoptic 8" "Parades"
- Oberon. Vol. 3, 2005: "That Century" "A Calico Ascription" "Report from Our Lands" "A Turn"
- Conduit. no. 16, 2005: "Morceau" "And if They Should Tell You"
- Fence. 2005: "Missive in an Icelandic Room, 2"
- March Book. Verse. (New York, NY: Grove Press, 2004)
- Boston Review. 2004: "A Set Piece"
- New Republic. 21, 28 April 2003: "After a Death"
- Agenda (UK). 2003: "Manuman Notebook: no.1"
- Oberon. Louis Simpson, Judge, Issue no. 1. 2002: "Study no. 39"
- The Plimpton Prize for the story The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp, and Carr: Paris Review, 2008
- "Booklist, review of "The Curfew"".
- "New York Times review".
- "Profile in New City Chicago".
- Best American Poetry 2006
- Wood, James. "James Wood: Jesse Ball’s “Silence Once Begun”". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- Oyeyemi, Helen (21 March 2014). "‘Silence Once Begun,’ by Jesse Ball". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- "Silence Once Begun: A Novel: Jesse Ball: 9780307908483: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- "The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing: Davis Schneiderman: 9780982315644: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2013-05-25. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- The New Yorker: "But He Confessed." Review of Silence Once Begun. February 2014.
- Publisher's Weekly: Review of Vera & Linus. October 2006.
- Reykjavik Grapevine, "A Deep Strong Hope in Its Core" Profiled with Thordis Bjornsdottir following publication of Vera & Linus. Issue 15, 22 September—5 October 2006.
- Frettabladid, "Natturulega skaldleg saelstilling" Interview with Thordis Bjornsdottir following publication of Vera & Linus, 9 September 2006.
- Reykjavik Mag "Elegantly Brutal" Profile with Thordis Bjornsdottir following publication of Vera & Linus, July 2006.
- POETRY DAILY: 3 July 2006, "Missive in an Icelandic Room 3" (From Denver Quarterly)
- POETRY DAILY: 10 November 2005, "Parades," "I Followed A Ribbon" (From Paris Review)
- Fréttabladid: Interview about poetry and about the life of a poet, 27 July 2005.
- Icelandic Radio FM 90.9: Reykjavík, Iceland. Interview by Gunnar Peturrson for upcoming NYHIL festival, July 2005.
- Boston Review: Boston, MA. Review of March Book by Desales Harrison. February/March 2005.
- Book/ Mark: Long Island, NY. Review of March Book by Claire Nicholas-White. 2004.
- The Times, Smithtown, NY; Port Times Record, Port Jefferson, NY. Profile following the publication of March Book. March 2004.
- jesseball.com (Ball´s website)
- "Pieter Emily", Jesse Ball's novella, serialized in Guernica Magazine
- Nashville Review Interview with Jesse Ball
- Jesse Ball's "THE MERCY OF KINGS"
- "Finding the Comfortable Spots", the Guernica Magazine interview with Jesse Ball by Craig Morgan Teicher
- Grapevine (interview)
- Reykjavik Mag profile
- An interview (everydayyeah.com)