Literature & literary studies:

What Was It for



Customer rating

Click to share your rating 0 ratings (0.0/5.0 average) Thanks for your vote!

Share this product

What Was It for by Adrienne Raphel
In stock with supplier

The item is brand new and in-stock in with one of our preferred suppliers. The item will ship from the Mighty Ape warehouse within the timeframe shown below.

Usually ships within 2-3 weeks


Delivering to:

Estimated arrival:

  • Around 13-18 February using standard courier delivery


Poetry. 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 pate 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. "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 "Nothing escapes Adrienne Raphel's notice--whatever her eye trains itself on blooms with mystery, logic, fractal intelligence and a feverish, near-mathematical stumped- ness. Her depth of thinking and clarity of observation leave no assumption unchecked; it's almost as if the world--with its lavender and feathers and salt and balloons and passports and goats and alienation--exists to destabilize this knowing voice, to goad it into rules for breaking and to show its range. It's not un-Homeric. It's miraculous. It's not "wordplay" when the words are playing us. Reading this book is like stumbling onto some amazing circumstance where T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Mina Loy, and Gerard Manley Hopkins are all together, utterly serious and in rare form, playing a drinking game in what looks like an abandoned musical theater set with a boardwalk as a backdrop. What a room! Depressive Mother Goose slumps in a corner with Edward Lear deep in his Morbids while Gwendolyn Brooks and Gertrude Stein win several rounds handily. But, at a certain layer or fathom in every poem, all that company drops silent and a reader is left with the rarest of presences: the inner life of a poet for whom every moment of consciousness yields a discovery. This is a book that calls up ancient and immediate ways to play--and if there is a catastrophe looming (the big one looms like a cloud in the sky of this book) Raphel's work will still make cosmic sense, will give joy, regenerate, and remind us (as her title does) what it was for."--Brenda Shaughnessy
Release date NZ
March 15th, 2017
Rescue Press
Product ID

Customer reviews

Nobody has reviewed this product yet. You could be the first!

Write a Review

Marketplace listings

There are no Marketplace listings available for this product currently.
Already own it? Create a free listing and pay just 9% commission when it sells!

Sell Yours Here

Help & options

  • If you think we've made a mistake or omitted details, please send us your feedback. Send Feedback
  • If you have a question or problem with this product, visit our Help section. Get Help
  • Seen a lower price for this product elsewhere? We'll do our best to beat it. Request a better price
Filed under...

Buy this and earn 185 Banana Points