News related to Jay Ponteri

Author of Wedlocked

Jay Ponteri Joins Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond on Dear Sugar

13 Feb 2016|

A Very Sugar Valentine’s Day: Forbidden Crushes

Valentine’s Day is seen as a celebration of love. But most of the letters the Sugars receive about love are far less celebratory. For this Valentine’s Day, they look at one especially painful form of love: the crush.

They take questions from two letter writers struggling with illicit love interests — one from a career-oriented woman who finds herself drawn to her boss, the other from a recently married woman fantasizing about her...Forward

Jay Ponteri Essay for Oregon Humanities Selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2015

23 Sep 2015|

Huge congratulations to Hawthorne Books author Jay Ponteri, whose Oregon Humanities essay, “In Defense of Navel-Gazing,” was selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2015.

To read an excerpt from the essay, go here.

Jay Ponteri on Charles D’Ambrosio’s “Loitering: New & Collected Essays”

11 Aug 2014|

In Loitering: New & Collected Essays (forthcoming from Tin House Books), Charles D’Ambrosio crowds around relationships, people, and cultures that are marginalized or in ruins or that have totally disappeared. His prose has an old-timey Jamesian expansiveness that only brightens his illuminations of the discarded. D’Ambrosio visits an “eco-village” outside of Austin that is part sculpture, part dream, part ecological dwelling; a Christian-themed haunted house outside of Dallas; an...Forward

Ander Monson on Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked, which he chose as the winner of the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction

07 May 2014|

An essay is an artificial intelligence, a continual reenactment of a particular strand of thinking. Whenever the reader encounters one, it runs like software in her head as she reads, producing an experience of actually inhabiting another’s brain. Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked is a powerful example, frankly painful in the intensity of its apparent honesty and capacity for neurotic exploration and self-laceration. Yet even deep in its own fever suddenly it shifts its lens to the Crusades. The...Forward

“Author has marriage issues all locked up,” by Stephen Alexander for the Portland Tribune

18 Apr 2014|

Wedlocked shows how couple wrestles with difficult times

The ingredients for a stellar memoir are simple: lay your soul bare for all to judge you.

Actually doing that, though, takes exploring your own psyche to a terrifying degree. Portland writer Jay Ponteri braved those waters to publish Wedlocked.

A few years ago, Ponteri, the director of the undergraduate creative writing program at Marylhurst University, began writing a journal about his marriage. He planned on eventually using the...Forward

“In Defense of Navel-Gazing: To understand the world, we must first understand ourselves,” by Oregon Book Award Winner Jay Ponteri for Oregon Humanties

03 Apr 2014|

I write lyric essay and memoir, so the communication of complex, sometimes contradictory emotions from one human to another lies at the heart of my prose. I have found that many American readers are uncomfortable with writers who make earnest attempts to closely reveal, then consider the self on the page in the world. Readers call us navel-gazers, selfish, self-indulgent, and masturbatory. Our family and friends are pitied, and we are advised to stop writing and immediately seek therapy. This...Forward

Congratulations to Jay Ponteri for winning a 2014 Oregon Book Award for his memoir, Wedlocked!

18 Mar 2014|

On March 17th Jay Ponteri was awarded the Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction at the Oregon Book Awards for Wedlocked.

Literary Arts congratulates the winners of the 2014 Oregon Book Awards!

Graham Salisbury of Lake Oswego
Calvin Coconut: Extra Famous (Wendy Lamb Books)

Kari Luna of Portland
The Theory of Everything (Philomel Books)


Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked named a Finalist for the Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction

06 Jan 2014|

Congratulations, Jay Ponteri!

To see the entire list of Oregon Book Award finalists, go to Literary Arts.

Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked chosen by The Tipsy Librarian for the 2013 Holiday Book Buying Guide

20 Dec 2013|

This is for your deep thinking friend who might be having doubts about his marriage in the form of insatiable crushes on baristas, and needs to hear that others have had those doubts, too, and needs to find solace in the fact that it’s natural to feel desire for people other than your wife from time to time. Especially appropriate for those who grew up listening to Nirvana, Archers of Loaf, Stone Roses,and Superchunk.

Pairs well with: Double macchiato, piping hot, followed smartly on its...Forward

“Working from Inadvertent Memory,” by Jay Ponteri for Marion Roach Smith’s Writing Lessons: The Role of Memory in Writing What You Know

29 Oct 2013|

THE ROLE OF MEMORY in writing is simply one of the most compelling topics there is for memoirists. And then there is the topic of marriage, by far one of the top subjects I read about in my classes. But what happens when you combine the two topics in one lesson? Something magical, I assure you. Taken together, there is no writer whose voice I’d rather hear on those subjects than that of Jay Ponteri, author of Wedlocked. Read on to see why.—Marion Roach Smith

Working from Inadvertent Memory,...Forward

Interview: Dream-cheating with Jay Ponteri: The author of Wedlocked talks about his investigation of monogamy, by Judith Pulman

21 Oct 2013|

Confession: From his prose, I wasn’t expecting Jay Ponteri to meet me so freshly groomed, polite, and soft-spoken.

It was sloppy for me to assume that Ponteri, the director of Marylhurst University’s undergraduate creative writing program, would appear slovenly or depressive or altogether not-hip in the fashion that he portrayed himself to be in Wedlocked, his memoir published by local press Hawthorne Books in March. But it was easy enough for me to conflate the persona and person of a...Forward

Jay Ponteri Interview Part II by Sione Aeschliman

30 Aug 2013|

In part two of her interview Sione Aeschliman talks to Jay Ponteri about his publishing experience with Hawthorne Books.

Sione AeschlimanWhat did you look for in a publisher? What sorts of negotiations did you go through before signing with Hawthorne Books? 

Jay PonteriI wanted a publisher who would work hard at every stage of the process: editing, design/ layout, distribution, promotion, etc… I didn’t want a limp-handshake of an edit. I wanted somebody to challenge me, and Rhonda Hughes...Forward

Jay Ponteri Interview Part I by Sione Aeschliman

23 Aug 2013|

From Sione Aeschliman:

I met Jay Ponteri in 2009, shortly after I began working at Marylhurst University, where he’s Associate Faculty in the English department. For a while we both had offices on the same hall, and I knew him as the slightly distracted, somewhat-rumpled creative writing instructor who brought his adorable son to work with him on occasion. Although I never had the chance to work with him directly or to take a class from him, I was aware of the work he was doing - most notably,...Forward

Louie Opatz talks with Jay Ponteri, author of Wedlocked, at Late Night Library HQ.

25 Jul 2013|

Welcome to our July episode of Late Night Debut. This month we feature Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked—it offers readers an intimate, idiosyncratic view of a human institution that can so often fail, leaving its inhabitants lonely and adrift. “Many recent books have been written, of course, about sex, marriage, love, men, and women,” writes David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. “Very few if any risk the level of intimacy, candor, and rawness that Jay Ponteri’s book...Forward

Jay Ponteri muses on marriage for Chicago’s WBEZ

14 Jun 2013|

From WBEZ 91.5:

If we are always changing, how do we enter into relation with another person? How do we evolve with someone else, instead of away from them?  Jay Ponteri, author of the lyrical book, Wedlocked, lets us in on the truth of his life and marriage. He admits to a brokenness, which on the surface could seem to be an unraveling, but ultimately comes from a willingness to see what is real in all of its flawed confusion.  Jay reminds us that a deeper relationship is always possible if...Forward

Jay Ponteri interviewed by Trevor Dodge for Architectures of Possibility

10 Jun 2013|

Possible Architect features conversations with and performances by a wide range of creatives. Hosted by Trevor Dodge. Download individual episodes below or preview/subscribe via iTunes.

Possible Architect Episode 11: Jay Ponteri

Jay Ponteri and I discuss the metafictional qualities of both writing and publishing memoir, the intersection between revision and personal relationships, and the unique and fierce connections such deeply personal writing forges between authors and readers.

Oregon Humanities calls Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked “alarmingly frank.”

04 Jun 2013|

Spring 2013 Oregon Humanities calls Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked an “alarmingly frank memoir that occasionally drifts into philosophical treatise…”

To read the entire review, go to Oregon Humanities.

Audio interview with Jay Ponteri by Nola Studiola Redux

04 Jun 2013|

Nola StudiolaHow does the role of sex and sexual fantasy help the narrator stay true to himself or get more honest?

Jay PonteriI write a lot about sexual fantasy, about sex. The role sex plays in my life reveals my idiosyncratic (and commonplace) self. Like any other human, I’m filled with desire, with desire I can express in a sexual relationship, with even more desire that doesn’t get expressed, save for fantasy. And of course there’s the gap between sexual fantasy and the reality of...Forward

Jay Ponteri’s memoir Wedlocked reviewed in BookSlut

04 Jun 2013|

Bookslut posts not only a review of Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked, but a great discussion about marriage in books.

Women’s voices have long figured prominently in the publishing sub-category of marriage memoirs, so for the sake of fairness and balance, it was nice to find one written by a man.

Unlike marriage chronicles written in recent decades, Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked does not pander to a culture more enamored with life after marriage than the reasons why marriage is so hard, and how it can—if it...Forward

The San Francisco Chronicle includes Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked in their A Selection of First Sentences From New Books!

06 May 2013|

“In bed my wife said, — I talked to X on the phone.”

To see all books on the list, go to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Jay Ponteri interviewed for Bookslut by Anya Groner

06 May 2013|

“If one wants to live sanely in monogamy, one must figure out how to ignite the desire to reach, how to keep re-reaching. Some people are more equipped to do this and others less so (I put myself in the latter camp).” Jay Ponteri.

To read the entire interview, go to Bookslut.

Jay Ponteri’s essay “The Art of the Sentence” in Tin House Magazine

01 May 2013|

He magicked flowers onto paper, so that upon it they quivered, rejoiced, and smiled, swaying in their plantlike ways; his concern was the flesh of flowers, the spirit of the secret which dwells in the resistance a thing with special properties offers to understanding. “ — “Thoughts on Cezanne” by Robert Walser (translated into English by Christopher Middleton)

Would it not be more appropriate for me to say the sentence is more Christopher Middleton’s and less Robert Walser’s? I...Forward

How to Write in the Face of Rejection, by Jay Ponteri for Writer’s Digest

25 Apr 2013|

For many years, I received more rejections than I was willing to count. Rejections from literary magazines. Rejections from small presses. Rejections from fellowship-granting organizations. I shelved a book. I shelved short stories. I worked at the power company as an administrative assistant. I felt very few people would ever read my work, that any additional work I made was for nobody but me.

To read the entire article, go to Writers Digest.

Jay Ponteri Self Interview on The Nervous Breakdown

15 Apr 2013|

Jay PonteriWhy did you choose to publish a book that seems so potentially hurtful to your wife and son and parents? Why wasn’t it good enough to write this book and let it be?

Jay PonteriI would be disingenuous if I didn’t say up front that I write prose and poetry to share with others (even though when I’m doing it, I’m mainly speaking to myself). I finished Wedlocked in 2009 and sat on it for three years as my wife and I continued to strengthen our marriage and encounter (together)...Forward

The Nervous Breakdown runs excerpt from Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked

08 Apr 2013|

I remember speaking on the telephone long-distance to a friend, a female friend. We were catching up with each other, e.g., children birthed, books read, votes cast. My pregnant wife was out in the backyard, mowing the dandelions, or I thought she was till I heard a knock at the back door, which meant my wife was locked out and needed back in the house. Continuing to speak on the telephone, I unlocked, then opened the back door to my wife, her eyes swollen, cheeks tear-streaked, and lips...Forward

Jay Ponteri Guest Blog at Powell’s Books Day Five: Invasion in the Blue Room!

05 Apr 2013|

I drove to Powell’s and found my memoir Wedlocked not in the Blue Room but in the Green Room, where Powell’s promotes upcoming author events (book launch last Friday), and there it was. Just like that. My book, my inside skin, my various faces, terrible and lovely, right there, available, communing with others (my friend’s book The Next Scott Nadelson), and now, a month later, Wedlocked has found its place in the Blue Room,where it communes with Proust and Pritchett, where it calls out to Mary...Forward

Jay Ponteri Guest Blog at Powell’s Books Day Four: Let Me Introduce to You: Kevin Sampsell

04 Apr 2013|

I ask Kevin if he thinks it’s weird how frequently I come into the bookstore.

He says: “It’s much better to be a regular at a bookstore than a regular at a bar, strip club, gun shop, office supply store, or emergency room.”

To read Jay’s entire blog post, go to Powell’s Books.

Jay Ponteri Guest Blog at Powell’s Books Day Three:  May I Recommend to You Some Books to Read?

03 Apr 2013|

Jay Ponteri recommends three titles for you book lovers. We’ll tell you one, and to discover the other two, go to the Powell’s blog post.

1. Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

Collected over many years of giving lectures at Vermont College’s low-residency MFA program, these are not simply poetry craft essays but essays searching hard for discovery in the face of rampant uncertainty, death, despair, and wonder. Ruefle’s prose reveals her very intense passion for...Forward

Getting Over the Grand Canyon, by Jay Ponteri for NW Book Lovers

02 Apr 2013|

My memoir differs from others in that my consideration happened alongside my faltering marriage. A conversation might happen with my wife, or even a stirring instance of interiority, and the next morning I’d bring it to my writing for consideration. In this way, my writing was not so much about healing or empowering myself (very very suspicious of that tired phrase) through the recollection of events long in the past. The writing was an agitation of memory (John D’Agata‘s phrase), was me...Forward

Alison Barker of Paste Magazine on Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked

02 Apr 2013|

Wedlocked attempts to articulate that “unsolvable identity of self” in the grand tradition of 16th-century essayist Michel de Montaigne, father of the pastiche personal essay. Unlike Montaigne, whose Essais run the gamut from formal to enigmatic, Ponteri does an admirable job of linking his short, essayistic chapters into a narrative about one man’s inability to prioritize his marriage over the life of his mind. His sentences come both scattered and controlled, and readers with a love for...Forward

Jay Ponteri Guest Blog at Powell’s Books Day Two

02 Apr 2013|

Powell’s opens at 9 a.m., and around 9:30, the Blue Room booksellers roll out the fiction and poetry carts for shelving. Imagine the home team coming out from the locker room onto the court to an ecstatic crowd of fans. To see all of the new books together — like a new employee orientation? — before being shelved, before mixing in with all of the other books, the new Dara Wier (You Good Thing) finding a comfy spot next to Dara Wier’s Selected Poems, or the new Armantrout (Just Saying)...Forward

Scott Nadelson and Jay Ponteri at Powell’s to launch their Love Will Tear Us Apart Book Tour, by Diane Prokop

01 Apr 2013|

Diane Prokop covers the Scott Nadelson and Jay Ponteri’s Love Will Tear Us Apart Book Tour at Powell’s to launch their memoirs, The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress and Wedlocked, respectively.

The audience got a double dose of soul-bearing, and painfully honest portrayals of lives in transition, of guys on journeys through the darker points in their lives, and of frankly what would be really embarrassing revelations for most of us. But for a memoirist, it is de rigueur, and Scott and...Forward

Jay Ponteri blogs at Powell’s Books this week

01 Apr 2013|

My name is Jay Ponteri, and I wrote Wedlocked, newly published by Hawthorne Books. The book is a memoir about a rough patch (imagine: Grand Canyon) in my marriage. It considers what it looks and feels like to be a lonely (hu)man inside a marriage, what it looks and feels like to push away the one who loves you, what it looks and feels like to FAIL as a husband, to say, You are not what I want. The prose is deeply private. It looks inside an American marriage and describes what it sees through...Forward

Making the Memoir (Mostly) Respectable by Rhonda Hughes: A Foreword Reviews Interview

09 Mar 2013|

ForewordMemoir can be a tricky genre in terms of quality. Talk about why you believe in it and also about your selection criteria/method.

RhondaI often find myself at parties defending memoir. At a Christmas Eve party, I gave one of my friends Jay Ponteri’s upcoming book, Wedlocked, which is about a married man with a young son who falls in love with his local barista. I published this book firstly because it is well written and because it poses questions regarding monogamy and marriage and...Forward

On Wedlocked by Jay Ponteri: “Sometimes filled with raw sexual ambition, other times quietly sad and contemplative, Ponteri dares memoir to go in a bold direction, with precedence on the intimacy between writer and reader.” Renée K. Nicholson, The Los Angeles Review

06 Mar 2013|

Wedlocked also refuses the simplistic, truth-as-fact view of nonfiction. Instead its terrain is emotional and linked to artistic process: “Making art forces one to practice a kind of divergent thinking in which one considers many answers to a single question, many solutions to a single problem.” He confesses to both the act of making some stuff up, as well as upsetting or being hurtful to the reader. In this way, it stretches the confines of the so-called contract with the reader. His is a...Forward

Morgan Chinnock at Switchback reviews Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked

06 Mar 2013|

Wedlocked does not portray a particular setting or series of events. Rather, it lays bare a complex, turbulent inner landscape—a secret lair of desirous thoughts which resides in each of us. Raw, self-aware, and self-critical, Ponteri speaks to our dark places, the thoughts we believe we must keep hidden, particularly within the pressure-bound structure of marriage. -Morgan Chinnock, Switchback

To read entire review, go to Switchback.

Goodreads is giving away free copies of Jay Ponteri’s Wedlocked

21 Feb 2013|

If you are on Goodreads go check out Jay Ponteri’s book contest for his memoir Wedlocked. Enter to win!

Kevin Sampsell, author of A Common Pornography, gives Jay Ponteri’s memoir, Wedlocked, 5 Stars on Goodreads.

09 Feb 2013|

I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing to say but… I think this book is going to be polarizing, and it should be. Ponteri bluntly looks at his own marriage in a style that is both painfully dark and intelligently philosophical (after all, Ponteri is a big fan of folks like David Shields and Maggie Nelson—two self-reflectors of the highest order).  Some critics will probably expect this book to resonate mostly with men, but I don’t really see it as anti-wife or anti-marriage. It’s...Forward