Matthea Harvey is a poet and professor. She has published three collections of poetry, including Modern Life, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable book.
Her poems have been included in literary magazines such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and others. She has also worked as the poetry editor of American Letters & Commentary, and is a contributing editor to jubilat and BOMB.
“If you care about modern American poetry, you should care about Matthea Harvey,” says Daniel Handler. His favorite poem in her newest collection, “When the Water Is at Our Ankles,” begins:
Unwedge the ruler you use to prop up your
window and meet me in the street. I’ll bring
the measuring tape curled in the desk drawer
like a sullen snail, and hand in hand, we’ll watch
as the water creeps up an inch, then two.
The river’s a baby, it’s a toddler, it’s grown.
Read his review of If The Tabloids Are True What Are You? in the LA Times.
Harvey currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
Out of Order
Today it’s about truth and hope
and there are no ha-ha’s
between me and the living.
World, I’m no one
to complain about you.
—from Modern Life
I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run
Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked
under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign
for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.
When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.
The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.
The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.
—from Sad Little Breathing Machine
If The Tabloids Are True Then What Are You? (2014)
Modern Life (2007)
Sad Little Breathing Machine (2004)
Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (2000)
An Illustrated Erasure
Of Lamb with images by Amy Jean Porter (2010)
The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (2009)
The Paris Review: Mermaid Convention: An Interview with Matthea Harvey
The New York Times: Dream Logic
Poetry Daily: An Interview with Matthea Harvey
An Interview With Matthea Harvey by Weston Cutter