Elisa Gabbert on Living in a Era of Eternal Apocalypse
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On Podcast
Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic, political, and technological issues being discussed in the news, right now.
In this episode, Andrew is joined by Elisa Gabbert, author of The Unreality of Memory: and Other Essays, to discuss what it means to exist in a time of eternal apocalypse.
From the episode:
Andrew Keen: Are you concerned at all that we all seem to live in a hysteric age? In which hysteria has taken over every aspect of our culture, and it’s reflected on social networks, as well as being compounded by social networks?
Elisa Gabbert: To some extent, yeah. I think there’s a a strange impulse to make everything seem like the worst thing ever. You mentioned Sebald earlier. He always points out—or did point out when he was alive—that you don’t need to exaggerate something as horrific as the Holocaust, for example; it can’t be made any more horrific than it is by using hyperbolic language. But yeah, every day on Twitter, I see very hyperbolic language, and it does raise your blood pressure. And I’m not sure that it helps anything.
Elisa Gabbert is the author of five collections of poetry, essays, and criticism: The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays, out now from FSG Originals and Atlantic UK; The Word Pretty (Black Ocean, 2018); L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean, 2016); The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, 2013); and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). The Unreality of Memory and The Word Pretty were both named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and The Self Unstable was chosen by the New Yorker as one of the best books of 2013. She writes a regular poetry column for the New York Times, and her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian Long Read, the London Review of Books, A Public Space, the Paris Review Daily, American Poetry Review, and many other venues.