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Readings in the Gallery: Adrienne Raphel

Raised in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Raphel is currently a PhD student at Harvard, where she's working on a book about crossword puzzles. Adrienne Raphel's debut full-length poetry collection, What Was It For, was published in 2017 by Rescue Press. ( Here is the publisher’s description of the book, "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." Poet Cathy Park Hong selected it as the winner of the Black Box Poetry Prize.