Synopses & Reviews
Written over the course of eight years, Someone Told Me combines associative self-portraiture, lyric essay, literary criticism, and memory-based work. The experimental prose toggles between descriptions of daily domestic life, responses to art — e.g., Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things To Me — and dreams of artists and the art they make, e.g., Robert Walser, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Anne Frank. Core themes include race, gender, heteronormativity, loneliness, shame, gentrification, attachment, parenthood, grief, and traumatic birth.
“Within the seemingly infinite space of his extended paragraphs, within sentences that refuse closure, through the skyways of his mind, Jay Ponteri displays how, ‘[a] single physical space becomes many, indefinite labyrinthine without borders multiples of multiples.’ Part philosophy, part diary, part literary criticism, these existential essays on a world divided, held briefly, then lost, showcase the singular and isolated reachings of a life. In Someone Told Me, Jay Ponteri leads us into the deepest interior of the "indefinite labyrinthine" self through unfettered thoughts that swirl and elongate with memory and unknowing. An essayistic mind on a quest to hold and be held by what's on the other side, Ponteri instructs us, in rich and intensely meditative prose, to not despair, that we need merely to look up, to reach, to see through, that Presence is ever-present.”
Jenny Boully, author of
Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life
About the Author
Jay Ponteri directed the creative writing program at Marylhurst University from 2008-2018 and is now the program head of PNCA at Willamette University's Low-Residency Creative Writing program. He's also the author of Darkmouth Inside Me (Future Tense Books, 2014) and Wedlocked/ (Hawthorne Books, 2013), which received an Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Two of Ponteri's essays, “Listen to This” and “On Navel Gazing,” have earned Notable Mentions in The Best American Essays anthologies. His work has also appeared in many literary journals, including Gaze, Ghost Proposal, Eye-Rhyme, Seattle Review, Forklift, Ohio, Knee-Jerk, Cimarron Review, and Tin House. While teaching at Marylhurst, Ponteri was twice awarded the Excellence in Teaching & Service Award. In 2007, Ponteri founded Show: Tell, The Workshop for Teen Artist and Writers, now part of summer programming at Portland's Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC.org) on whose Resource Council he serves. He teaches memoir classes at Literary Arts. He lives with his son Oscar and Oscar's pug MO.