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October 10 at 7:00 PM
Daniel Poppick’s National Poetry Series-winning second collection, Fear of Description (Penguin, 2019), turns to the prose poem to take that dark humor of our lived experience in a different direction, one calibrated by the anxieties of modern existence.
From Midwestern bars to Brooklyn apartments, Poppick’s autobiographical narrative poems focus on friendship and art as they follow a group of millennial poets adrift in political upheaval and personal crisis, trying to find their way back to one another.
Poppick unveils a generation at odds with its own ideals, precariously (or just un-) employed, and absolutely terrified of seeing where they may fit in the planet’s future. Is our contemporary moment pure tragedy, or a dark joke? Can it be both?
In the title poem, he laments: “When asked in an interview / Do I want the position / By night I do / No by day /And mute life plays, rising to the skin / To dream this concrete / Shape we’re in.”
“No matter where a reader begins in Fear of Description, the end is near and a beginning closer. As far as this book travels, it’s always there to meet itself, though its trajectory is never predictable. There is also the ancient lament of the worker/writer, trying to sing a timeless song in an age of ring tones. Poppick’s stop-motion ability to convey multitude in moments is genius—Merwin-like in its sensorial clarity, and, where the poet chooses formal restriction, Keatsian in density and bloom.”
—Brenda Shaughnessy, author of Our Andromeda
Daniel Poppick’s first book of poetry, The Police, was published by Omnidawn in 2017. His writing has appeared in BOMB, Granta, the New Republic, Fence, the PEN Poetry Series, and other journals. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Coe College, and the Parsons School of Design. He currently lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a copywriter and coedits the Catenary Press.