Jesse Ball

Jesse Ball
Author photograph by Joe Lieske
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Poet, Novelist

Jesse Ball (born June 7, 1978) is an American poet and novelist. He has published novels, volumes of poetry, shortprose, and drawings. His works are distinguished by the use of a spare style and have been compared to those ofJorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino.[1][2][3]

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'sThe New RepublicCircumference, Oberon, Agenda (UK), The Paris ReviewGuernica Magazine, The Boston ReviewDenver Quarterly, Fence, and Conduit. In 2006, his poem "Speech in a Chamber" was chosen for the anthologyThe 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]


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