This week we’re talking about a lyric essay that was first published in 2002 and has since become part of a new canon of creative nonfiction: Jenny Boully’s “The Body,” which first appeared in The Seneca Review and was re-released in book form by Essay Press.
The big question of this episode: are we smart enough to understand this piece, which is written in footnotes to an invisible text? Or is it even a thing meant to be “understood” in a traditional narrative sense? Is “The Body” a beautiful evocation of a language just beyond conventional meaning? Is it a whole bunch of word salad? And, seriously, are we big dummies who just barely manage to get our pants on each morning?
We do our best to unpack the piece, and also to trace its path to becoming a regular touchstone for writers and teachers of creative nonfiction.
Also this week: In Mike’s continuing search for a good donut, he pits two bitter Pennsylvania rivals against each other. That’s right, it’s Sheetz vs. Wawa.
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Stream Episode 290: