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book

not merely because of the unknown that was stalking towards them

Year

2011

Type

Poetry Book
not merely because of the unknown that was stalking towards them by Jenny Boully
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Jenny Boully's fourth collection is a dark re-visioning of Peter and Wendy from J.M. Barrie's much-adapted tale Peter Pan. This version re-examines the tale from its source, using italicized lines from Barrie's text as dark, sometimes abstract, threads with which to weave her own layered prose poetry. Themes of gender, romance, sexuality, marriage, commitment, pregnancy, and aging cast Peter and Wendy in a new light, complicating ideas of Neverland and make believe. In one section of the book, Boully writes

    The Wendy girl will live longer than you; the Never bird 
    will live longer than you; the wayward thing will be taken to 
    wife (unlike you, who will never be taken to wife), and she
    too will live longer than you. Shoot her down, shoot her down,
    you say. And down comes the Wendy bird, and down comes
    the Peter bird to say who has done this? And you're shut
    up in your little house again, and all around you, the various 
    fairy birds a-dying, a-falling away from the Neverland

The tension and liminality the characters occupy and experience in this re-telling mirror Boully's craft perfectly; ever a hybrid artist, Boully is particularly skillful at operating several layers of narrative simultaneously.


This book review originally appeared in American Poets, fall 2011, issue 41.

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