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- The Best Reviewed Books of the WeekMay 18, 2018
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In part two of their conversation (you can listen to part one, here), Elizabeth Gilbert and Paul Holdengraber decry our obsession with balance, discuss the poetry of Jack Gilbert, and quote Camus, Beckett, Gloria Naylor, among many others.
Elizabeth Gilbert on letting yourself feel…
The fact that we feel things is incredible. And that we have, unlike any other species on earth, it appears, we have awareness of our awareness, it’s amazing. It’s a very strange thing, and it’s a very beautiful thing. It’s a very exciting thing. It doesn’t mean it’s pleasant.
Elizabeth Gilbert on writing poetry…
There’s something that happens—and I’ve been doing that a lot lately—there’s a way that I can—and I don’t share them weirdly, I mean, maybe not weirdly, maybe wisely—it’s been a really good thing for me to do for myself. I can sit down in ten minutes—and I’m almost using air quotes when I say this, but I don’t know why—I can write a poem. It’s a poem. I didn’t say it was a great one, but it’s a poem. And I can write a poem about somebody and my feelings about that person, or something that I’m going through, that can get to the heart of the thing faster than, more efficiently and more profoundly than writing a 300-page nonfiction book about it.
Elizabeth Gilbert on how to get rid of books…
I went through my bookshelf and I touched each book. I pulled it out and held it in my hand, and I said, Am I ignited by this? And so I think what happens is when we look at a big library, we feel a general warm glow at the thought of all those books there, it makes you feel sort of warm and happy. But which are the ones that are actually creating the energy that’s making the heat in that room? It’s not all of them. It’s not even most of them. In your whole life there’s only actually really a few of them. And the ignition that I felt when I would touch that book was almost mystical, and it was also—it didn’t have to be because I loved that book, it could be that I loved that particular volume that had a huge sentimental reason for it being in my life, right? But mostly it was the words, the book itself. Does this ignite me, to see this or not? And if the answer was yes, I kept it, I put it in a box, and if the answer was no, I walked away.
NEXT WEEK: EDWIDGE DANTICAT
Paul Holdengraber catches up with the author of Brother, I’m Dying, and other books…