• What Was It For

    by Adrienne Raphel
    Price $16.00
    On Its Way
    What Was It For
  • The Police

    by Daniel Poppick
    Price $17.95
    On Its Way
    The Police

Adrienne Raphel and Daniel Poppick

read from

What Was It For


The Police

This event includes a book signing


July 11, 2017
7:00 PM


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes prize-winning poet ADRIENNE RAPHEL and Catenary Press co-editor DANIEL POPPICK for readings from their debut poetry collections, What Was It For and The Police.

About What Was It For

In her debut collection What Was It For, Adrienne Raphel revitalizes the topsy-turvy lyric and its evergreen sagacity. Through playground doggerel, charm, and riddle, these poems cry fair and foul to a world where pâté geese dabble in fields of lavender, crises get wallpapered over, hot air balloons stalk pleasurably, cash changes for gold, and the moon sinks into the sea to the thrum of the metronome. That world is this, our own and only, so reader, climb aboard: like a carousel, each poem loops round and round, granting dizzying vistas. All the while, these poems spill over with wonder—as in query, as in jubilee—just as a child chants why, but why, but why. By way of answer, What Was It For offers an immortal, resounding question.

Praise for What Was It For

"Adrienne Raphel's lexical sleight-of-hand in her debut collection astonishes me. Her poems are feral and full of feverish delight. Her corkscrewing rhymes enchant as she incants the phenomenological joy of living among earthly and unearthly wonders. Raphel takes Victorian nonsense verse into the twenty-first century and transforms it to her own strange and genius song." —Cathy Park Hong

"As maddening, incantatory, and exhilarating as the nursery rhymes of the most gifted, twisted children, What Was It For trembles with the terrifying, unspooling energy of a maypole rewinding in eternity. 'Pulsing and pulling concentrically// to the center of centers,' 'unfurling/ in crooked angles,' and falling 'without falling,' Raphel's dangerous, luminous mode is the 'carousel spell'—enchanted and hell-bent." —Robyn Schiff 

About The Police

“We are the coast of technology,” and Daniel Poppick’s debut tracks the signal coming in towards shore. Charged with an electric syntax, haunted by lyric history, and “gripped in gravity’s mood,” the poems in The Police ask: How do we navigate the miasma that we call a common language? And what is the clumsy, mythic force dictating our movement and relations? Who granted it this power? As Poppick endeavors to reconcile individual desire with the demands of a beloved collective, he finds a radical vulnerability lurking behind the curtain in the theater of friendship: the speech passing between us has a life of its own, the root of our tragicomedy and our only hope.

Praise for The Police

"This is a collection replete with the vulnerable pathos of possible connections like this one, tense with longing, and bright with tender, brilliant wit that’s turned by the torque of exquisite syntax. This is one of my very favorite new collections. It reminds me why I read poems in the first place. 'Remember how you once / Kissed a map / And it was cool and bottomless…'? This book is that kiss." —Robyn Schiff

"With mesmerizing dexterity, Daniel Poppick captures a consciousness hived by the augmented realities of contemporary life. As distance collapses into sharable moments, he questions how we can sustain intimacy when we cease distinguishing our somatic experiences from our avatars; how to disrupt when disruption itself is privatized; how to connect when connection itself is privatized? Each poem reads like exquisite comment streams of the mind. Poppick writes with beauty, wit, and compassion." —Cathy Park Hong

Adrienne Raphel
Adrienne Raphel

Adrienne Raphel

Adrienne Raphel is the author of What Was It For (Rescue Press, 2017), selected by Cathy Park Hong as winner of the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize; and the chapbook But What Will We Do (Seattle Review, 2016), selected by Robyn Schiff as winner of the Seattle Review Chapbook Contest. She has written for The New Yorker online, The Paris Review Daily, The Poetry Foundation, Public Books, The Atlantic online, and Slate, among other publications. Born in New Jersey and raised in Vermont, Raphel graduated from Princeton and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she currently studies poetics at Harvard.

Photo credit: Randy H. Goodman

Daniel Poppick
Daniel Poppick

Daniel Poppick

Daniel Poppick is the author of The Police (Omnidawn, 2017), and his poems appear in The New Republic, BOMB, Granta, Hyperallergic, Fence, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, he currently lives in Brooklyn, where he teaches undergraduate writing at the New School and co-edits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel and Rawaan Alkhatib.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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