49 min

Exploring Unreality with Elisa Gabbert Cultural Mixtapes

    • Society & Culture

On today’s episode we have poet Elisa Gabbert. Elisa is the author of six collections of poetry and essays. Her two latest books are the essay collection The Unreality of Memory published by FSG Originals and the poetry collection, Normal Distance, published by Soft Skull Press.

The Unreality of Memory is a collection that reckons with disasters large and small. It’s written in a voice that obsessively chronicles the precarity of the world we live in, while also interrogating the way we experience and react to this world. It tells stories about disasters, while simultaneously questioning the way we tell stories about disasters. If that sounds too vague, perhaps the NYT review of the book, that I also mention during the conversation, does a better job, saying Elisa takes a scalpel to the notion of reality itself. 

Her poetry in Normal Distance  tackles similar ideas in a very different form as she addresses feelings such as boredom and suffering with a sardonic wit that somehow never comes off as cynical or blasé. One of her greatest strengths as a writer is the ability to maintain profound depth and levity at the same time.

We talk about both books, and her approach to writing about these subject matters; as well as ideas about memory, human behavior, and audience response to her writing. Elisa’s also been a foundational presence in literary twitter for about a decade—so pretty much before literary twitter existed—and you can even find some of her old tweets in her poems. So towards the end of our conversation, and at a time when Twitter’s chaotic corporate struggles seem to be taking over the news cycle, she manages to paint a much needed portrait of the website.

www.elisagabbert.com

Normal Distance
The Unreality of Memory

Recommendations
The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark
My Struggle - Karl Ove Knausgaard

On today’s episode we have poet Elisa Gabbert. Elisa is the author of six collections of poetry and essays. Her two latest books are the essay collection The Unreality of Memory published by FSG Originals and the poetry collection, Normal Distance, published by Soft Skull Press.

The Unreality of Memory is a collection that reckons with disasters large and small. It’s written in a voice that obsessively chronicles the precarity of the world we live in, while also interrogating the way we experience and react to this world. It tells stories about disasters, while simultaneously questioning the way we tell stories about disasters. If that sounds too vague, perhaps the NYT review of the book, that I also mention during the conversation, does a better job, saying Elisa takes a scalpel to the notion of reality itself. 

Her poetry in Normal Distance  tackles similar ideas in a very different form as she addresses feelings such as boredom and suffering with a sardonic wit that somehow never comes off as cynical or blasé. One of her greatest strengths as a writer is the ability to maintain profound depth and levity at the same time.

We talk about both books, and her approach to writing about these subject matters; as well as ideas about memory, human behavior, and audience response to her writing. Elisa’s also been a foundational presence in literary twitter for about a decade—so pretty much before literary twitter existed—and you can even find some of her old tweets in her poems. So towards the end of our conversation, and at a time when Twitter’s chaotic corporate struggles seem to be taking over the news cycle, she manages to paint a much needed portrait of the website.

www.elisagabbert.com

Normal Distance
The Unreality of Memory

Recommendations
The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark
My Struggle - Karl Ove Knausgaard

49 min

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