March 1, 2009

Review by Craig Santos Perez

[one love affair]*
by Jenny Boully

Tarpaulin Sky Press
PO Box 189
Grafton, VT 05146
ISBN 0-9779019-0-4
2006, 68 pp., $12.00

As we learn in a footnote, the title of Jenny Boully’s [one love affair]* comes from the cover of Thomas Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator and alludes to how “when reading, our minds often supply another narrative” (17). Boully’s collection of prose pieces documents the narratives that emerged while she read various books, such as Roberto Belaño’s By Night in Chile, Marguerite Duras’s The Ravishing of Lol Stein, and Severo Sarduy’s Cobra and Maitreya, just to name a few. This intersection between source text and emergent text creates a fascinating movement throughout Boully’s work.

[one love affair]* contains three sections, each section composed of various, titled prose poems. The individual pieces don’t necessarily connect to each other as they emerge from various sources and project Boully’s narratives into a multiplicity of directions. What ties the disparate narratives together is Boully’s unique prose style:

In a field of rye, rye which did not allow for solitary moments, but opened one up to each flaw and freckle, in a way that Duras’s rye would never do, [viii] the couple put down a blanket and dreamt things: in the sky, a million wallowing anemones; in a shaft of rye, a landscape of hills and boulders, a crenellated planet’s covering; within a stone, a billion years of plate tectonics, cross-sections of sediment and historical evident (6).

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