"Pinsky who? ELISA GABBERT is our kind of poet. "Take me to the library; I'm in the mood to get murdered," she writes in a poem called "BLGPM W/ DTHWSH" in her first collection, The French Exit. Gabbert — whom Bookslut has called the Zoe Saldana of letters --..."
"Reader beware. Even with such emotional and human gestures, The French Exit is no catchy-hooks-got-you-on-the-first-listen sort of book. It intrigues and hides and even frustrates the first time through, enough so that you find yourself wanting another listen, and then another, and as the full complexity of what is happening unfolds, quantum like, you realize you’re holding a dazzling book that richly rewards those willing to sound and puzzle it out."
"Exquisitely pictorial ( . . . “confusing feeling with seeming, I think./ And nothing, and suffering, with fog”), post-historical, and combative (“I can defenestrate anything/ except for the window”), these poems and their occasionally patterned nature (section three being composed of “blogpoems” of witty force and technoculture-saturated play) are as original as anything being written today. The first stanza of “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 . . . ”
"Gabbert has a dizzying number of recommendations for reality, and they range from a Richter scale of quaintness for Amsterdam (“Blogpoem the Litany”), a T-shirt’s alarming imperative of HAVE A KNIFE DAY (“Poem with Negation”), and the proper “nefarious angles” at which pictures should be hung (“Poem with a Superpower”)."
After reading the book once through with no pen in hand, no notes, no nothing, I tried to just think for a moment and get a sense of my sense of the book. The best word I could find to describe the feeling the book left me with was "open." I think this sense of openness is more than simply a result of the final poem of the collection being entitled "Bridge." The sense of openness comes from the way these poems reveal themselves to me, the way they don't ask me to look through them, but to look directly at them.
As I reread the book, taking some notes along the way, this sense of openness became more and more apparent. But what exactly do I mean by "open"? Let me try to clarify my sense of the collection by responding (uninvited) to Joe Hall's musings over on HTML Giant. ..."