jesse ball

“Last April I hurt my knee doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” : 6 Questions W/ Jesse Ball

[Jesse Ball’s latest novel, The Curfew, will be released from Vintage on June 14th. Last month Shane Jones caught up with Jesse about the new book via email. – ed.]

SJ: When I first interviewed you back in 2007 we spoke a little about how fast you write your books (some in several weeks) and I’d like to go back to that discussion. Specifically, how fast your books feel to a reader (the latest feels even faster than your first two books). I literally could not stop reading THE CURFEW because it felt like I was being pulled along, my eyes kind of racing over the words. Is this something you consciously try to implore in your novels? Was THE CURFEW written in the same short-time/style as the others?

JB: Even more quickly, actually.

I feel very strongly the burden that a writer ought to tell a tale and that the writer should do it so properly and well that the reader forgets himself or herself. There are many other things I do (or try to do), but that is the first.


Author Spotlight / 5 Comments
February 8th, 2011 / 12:35 pm

Guernica is in the process of serializing a novella by Jesse Ball titled Pieter Emily, part 1 is live now. A sentence: “If I were to go first into a house of stone, and then into a house of wood, and then into a house of straw, and then into a bare roof set upon poles, and then to lie upon the empty ground beneath the sky with a blanket, and then even to cast the blanket aside and lie in the cold on the open ground, would you not think that I was making a grave for myself?”

Interview with The Cupboard

To celebrate their first year of publishing, I sent some questions to Adam Peterson and Dave Madden, the masterminds behind The Cupboard (a quarterly pamphlet of creative prose), and they were game to retort.

[interview after the jump]


Presses / 9 Comments
August 6th, 2009 / 8:25 am

Best American Poetry blog has recently been having authors share their favorite book covers, so far including Nick Flynn and Don Share, today is Jesse Ball.

Comments Off on

The Internet: Serious Business

The image is facetious, but I think we – you and me and everyone we don’t know – are onto something. The internet’s constraints and agilities are being used in wonderful and inventive ways. I’ve noticed writers and editors either reappropriating online aesthetics or its practical functions. Here are three examples that kind of show a spirit to this point:

I. Mark Baumer’s everydayyeah will post a 365 word story this year, running one word at a time. He chose Jesse Ball, who just published The Way Through Doors. [Blake Butler’s review forthcoming in The Believer, April.] One simply could not ‘distribute’ or publish in this form without the easy accessibility of the internet, made more so with the advent of RSS feeds and Google reader. Baumer seems obsessed with finding beauty in the redundancies of every day. True, it will take a devoted fan to check in every day, but let’s compromise: how about every week? We might even learn something about Ball’s structure.

II. Jillian Clark’s brilliant poem (haiku?) untitled under her “so i go in alone” blog post, wherein the entire poem is comprised of wikipedia picture captions.

an okapi cleaning its muzzle with its tongue
an okapi at bristol zoo cleans itself
okapi at chester zoo
an okapi reaches for some leaves


Author Spotlight & Web Hype / 19 Comments
January 3rd, 2009 / 11:42 pm

Jesse Ball has retired to the country

Author websites that are not blogs are often a much maligned thing: people get these things built and don’t know a lot about html or don’t really know what to do with their page other than update when they get a new thing in a magazine. For the most part the author website is a consistently boring venture.

Jesse Ball, on the other hand, seems to always be a little bit further out there. Jesse’s website, affectionately titled ‘Jesse Ball was a SPY, but has retired to the country,’ is cryptically arranged and full of all kinds of weird literary and visual projects, which seem to span the long hidden career of the author of SAMEDI THE DEAFNESS, among other things.

You could probably spend quite a while clicking around amongst the layerings here, as depending on how you approach different pages of the site, the offerings seem to vary. Among the more interesting things, outside the weird artworks and art projects, are the nested series of all of Ball’s past manuscripts, which he has kept compiled and archived here, with various amounts available to be read by the willing web traveler. The negotiation of the site itself seems to change sporadically also: depending on when you arrive, you may find all sorts of other things. For instance, when I arrived just now to cull more examples of things to talk about, I got caught in a picture loop promoting Ball’s new forthcoming book.

So let’s say this: Ball’s new novel, THE WAY THROUGH DOORS, is coming out in early 2009 from Vintage, which I for one am quite excited about.

Author Spotlight / 6 Comments
October 7th, 2008 / 12:08 pm