The French Exit
What a complex and lovely book this is! Reading Elisa Gabbert’s obsessively interior, technically rigorous poems is like listening in on the thoughts of a mind so fiercely observant and subtle that I find in them always some new twist, some surprising layer I hadn’t noticed before. By turns moving and witty, sharp-eyed and impressionistic, Gabbert writes with technical sophistication and keen intelligence. This is a terrific book.
What People Are Saying
It’s a pleasure to listen to the opinions of the narrator of The French Exit. Clear-eyed imagery and wit control the anxiety: “[A] boy at the counter disappears / or I can see through him.” Likewise, in a fine prose poem: “Do not be afraid of angering the birds. What angers the birds is fear.” The energy throughout Gabbert’s collection has the clip of the French exit itself – allons-y! – self-aware, self-sufficient, in control, in touch.
Elisa Gabbert’s bold, confident, and unwavering poems pack a punch with every ending. They careen, dip and reverse. “It wants to keep / running forever, but / it can’t stop stopping,” she writes. Just when I think I want one of Gabbert’s poems to go on forever, it screeches to a halt, but it is the perfect halt. This is not easy to do, but Gabbert has mastered the art of making a poem.
Inside the Book
- Perfect-bound 72 pp
- 8.8" x 5.9"
- Publication Date:
- April 2010
- Virginia Konchan
- Daniel Casey
- Timothy Bradford
From the Book
Poem with a Threshold
In the grip of the NYC sublime
I fell in love out of boredom.
I left the party, thru the French exit
to the smaller one inside
where the cake said
I HAVE NO CONCEPT OF TIME.
Look into my image
distortion disorder and tell me
what you really feel, now
that you’re incomprehensible, Mr.—
tell me “what for.” I love you
but my arms are full.
I opened my face with the door.
Blogpoem After Walter Benjamin
Every time you reproduce a piece of art you remove some of its aura and that’s why your mix tape didn’t impress me much,
it was so fucking aura-less
but in the film
version of the novelization of this poem
I play myself but have fantastic breasts and there are probably some blood baths
and also when my fangy tooth catches on my lip men everywhere crumple
w/ the ecstasy and agony of it and really
who needs aura in your movie when you’re so hot it breaks people’s knees.