With unflinching self-scrutiny, Anne Boyer exposes uncomfortable truths about our culture’s mistreatment of the individual in duress and the ways in which we are complicit in that neglect.
Anne Boyer is an American essayist and poet. Her boundary-blurring body of work includes two books of nonfiction, a poetry collection, and several chapbooks. Most recently, her book The Undying: Pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and art (2019) earned accolades for its formal inventiveness and searing prose. The story of Boyer’s experience with a highly aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer, The Undying is not a traditional memoir but something altogether different and new; a fierce and funny experiment in cultural criticism and personal history, malediction and requiem. Here, as in her essay collection A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (2018), Boyer reveals herself to be a kind of intellectual knight-errant, a wanderer through territories difficult and diverse—cancer hoaxers, John Donne, Roman dream diarists, corporate greed—in search of an always elusive, often painful, but occasionally enchanting truth. Boyer’s honors include a Judith E. Wilson Fellowship from Cambridge University (2019-2018), a Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2018), and a Whiting Award (2018). She lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri.
This is an extraordinary surprise, unfathomably generous, and already it has opened the door to new possibilities for me, ones that make the real difference for any writer: the possibilities of time and space.ANNE BOYER