Jesse Ball

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jesse Ball
Jesse Ball in Shaoxing.JPG
Jesse Ball at a restaurant in Shaoxing, China, on July 31, 2012
Born (1978-06-07) June 7, 1978 (age 38)
Port Jefferson, New York
Nationality American
Occupation poet

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 Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino.[1][2][3]


Early Life and Education[edit]

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 Down syndrome and attended a school some distance from the place where they lived.[2] 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 Harper's, 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.[4] His career and his 2014 book Silence Once Begun were reviewed by renowned literary critic James Wood in the New Yorker in February 2014.[5]


  • March Book. Verse. (New York, NY: Grove Press, 2004)
  • Og svo kom nóttin, Drawings. With Thórdís Björnsdóttir. (Reykjavík: Nyhil, 2006)
  • Vera & Linus. With Thórdís Björnsdóttir. (Reykjavík: Nyhil, 2006)
  • Samedi the Deafness (New York: Vintage, 2007)
  • Parables & Lies (Lincoln, NE: The Cupboard Pamphlet, 2007)
  • Pieter Emily, novella serialized in Guernica Magazine (2009)
  • The Way Through Doors (New York: Vintage, 2009)
  • The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008 (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2011)
  • The Curfew (New York: Vintage, 2011)
  • Silence Once Begun (New York: Pantheon, 2014)[6]
  • A Cure for Suicide (New York: Pantheon, 2015) [7]
  • How to Set a Fire and Why (New York: Pantheon, 2016) [8]
  • Notes on My Dunce Cap (Brooklyn: Pioneer Works Press, 2016) [9]



  1. ^ "New York Times review". 
  2. ^ a b "Profile in New City Chicago". 
  3. ^ "Review of "The Curfew"". 
  4. ^ Best American Poetry 2006
  5. ^ Wood, James. "James Wood: Jesse Ball's "Silence Once Begun"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  6. ^ "Silence Once Begun: A Novel". 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  9. ^


  • 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.

External links[edit]