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July 23, 2021  

Poetism 4: Can you break a word? Gabriel Ellis on SOPHIE and Jos Charles

July 23, 2021

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Elegy

Who would I show it to

In this short one-line poem, W.S. Merwin condenses the anguish of loss, of being alive, and of the limitations of languages into a neat little package. Why write in the absence of finality? And what happens when mortality catches up with us?

In this installment of Poetism, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner takes to the studio to ask about the honesty of writing––can writing ever reflect a true impression of reality? To field such questions about life, poetry, and everything in between, Stanford graduate student Gabriel Ellis takes the mic. Studying musicology, Gabriel focuses on contemporary pop music, and especially what he terms “anaesthetics,” music that describes, induces, or creates a sense of narcotic escape.

Our conversation loosely tracks Gabriel’s musical career before turning to Jos Charles’ 2018 poetry collection feeld, which he reads in a faux-Chaucerian accent: “i care so much abot the whord i cant reed.” Then, we talk about the late SOPHIE’s 2018 track “Immaterial” off of Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides to explore a sonic tapestry of vibe.

 

Stay tuned at your dials for next week’s episode of Poetism, featuring dead Irish myths, Seamus Heany, Hozier, and more Stanford friends!

 

Note: Both Charles and SOPHIE identify as trans and use she/them pronouns, so we use both interchangeably.