The French Exit

The French Exit

Elisa Gabbert

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.

Kevin Prufer

What People Are Saying

Caroline Knox

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.

Noelle Kocot

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

The Rumpus

Daniel Casey

Gently Read

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


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.