Articles by Elisa Gabbert
On Kate Zambreno’s Heroines and the crime of dismissive criticism in both Bookforum and The LA Review of Books
The author of Coming to My Senses in conversation with our own example of a very special breed of aesthete, the perfume lover.
You choose a perfume, you apply it, and you let it live and breathe on your skin – but you never, never mix and match. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. Our resident maitresse de parfums begs to differ – and shares some interesting discoveries
Our resident nose slows down in front of a perfume counter and stops to smell what’s selling
Our resident nose racks up facts on the tinctures of yesteryear, many of which still prove possible to capture and some of which are well worth sniffing out
Where does perfume come from? Why, from isolated islands, Indian grasses, and sticky beards of goats and sheep. Our resident perfume critic digs into labdanum, vetiver, and galbanum and lets us know where grows the nose.
Our resident nose sniffs those most populist of perfumes: the ones we rub under our arms. Join her on a guided tour through the pharmacy aisle.
It seems a given that natural scents would be preferable to synthetics, but might it be that our our perfume biases are too simplistic?
Our poet of perfume and the curator of the brand new Center of Olfactory Art discuss why perfumes demand to be smelled and why “perfume is the only art form in which Americans are more illiterate than poetry.”
The great lie of the perfume industry is that the scents you wear are created by the designers that brand them. In fact perfumers with signature styles are behind those scents, and Elisa Gabbert gives them some overdue recognition.
Music and photographs can stir memories, but in the world of scent, only a single molecule — a single note — is needed to take us deep. In this installment of her regular column, our author waxes on how the Eighties and Nineties smelled.
Our regular scentstress extols the difficult: sharp notes, throwbacks, and sweaty musks over easy patchoulis and fruity bores.
What are you paying for when you buy an expensive perfume–better materials? A longer-lasting scent? Placebo effect? Our regular perfume columnist sniffs it out.
Roses: they might have smelled sweet to Shakespeare, but what did he know about the perfume industry? Our regular olfactory column takes on the biggest scent cliche of them all.
In this installment of our new feature, Elisa Gabbert sniffs out the now-unfashionable subject of ‘fruity’ scents — wherefore their disgrace? and are the critics in error?
From ancient Egypt and Rome to the present, humans have always been fascinated by perfume; a new feature looks at the craft and aesthetics of making scents.
Karl Parker’s moves are more than merely clever: I-less one minute, present & friendly the next, he darts behind masks and speaks IN BOLD, as our contributing editor discovers in her review.
Wave Books, 2009
Maggie Nelson’s Bluets starts with its worst sentence: “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color.” I am suspicious of this sentence; I find …
W.W. Norton, 2009
Most of the poems in this collection, the fourth from April Bernard (whom W.S. Merwin deems “brilliant” on the flap copy, a poet of “power and ambition”) are rather lovely—and at …
by Chelsey Minnis
Wave Books, 2008
Chelsey Minnis is something of a poet’s poet, and to certain readers her third book, Poemland, will come off as undisciplined, even ridiculous. But to readers who want to be in …
Tin House Books
In Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House, Portland’s Tin House Books has released an enticing anthology of contemporary poetry: It’s got one of those nice paperback covers with page-marking flaps, proclaiming contents …
The lyric I and the lyric eye are in play and in question in Stephanie Young’s second book, Picture Palace. Elisa Gabbert illuminates its pitfalls and its charms.
The Beach House, by Jane Green
State of the Union
Eds. Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder
Wave Books, 2008
There are many things I like about the new political anthology from Wave Books, State of the Union. I like its size–very manageable at just …
Wave Books, 2008
Caroline Knox is a serious goofball. In Quaker Guns, her sixth and latest book of poetry, her over-the-top whimsy pays off more often than not, sometimes with big dividends.
Though Knox’s poems …
Coach House Books, 2007
Having read a little about Human Resources, I suspected I might “get” the project pretty quickly and not need or want to finish the whole thing. It combines corporate language …
Elisa Gabbert examines two genre-expanding books of poetry by Jenny Boully and Max Winter.