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Matthea Harvey

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Matthea Harvey
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Born in Germany on September 3, 1973, Matthea Harvey spent the first eight years of her life in Marnhull, England, before moving with her family to Milwaukee in 1981. Later, she earned her BA in literature at Harvard University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Harvey is the author of If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?  (Graywolf Press, 2014); Of Lamb (McSweeney's, 2011), a collaboration with artist Amy Jean Porter; Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf Press, 2004); and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000). She is also the author of the children's books Cecil the Pet Glacier (Schwartz & Wade, 2013) and The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (Tin House Books, 2009).

Poet Dean Young has called Harvey's poems "marvelous contraptions .. that explore and present artifices in the best sense, as disclosures of fabrication into plays of significance…and [are] always ravishingly complex." Poet Jorie Graham describes Harvey's work as "generous, urgent and savingly committed to beauty."

Harvey is a contributing editor at jubilat and BOMB Magazine and has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Warren Wilson College, the Pratt Institute, and the University of Houston. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Selected Bibliography


If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?  (Graywolf Press, 2014)
Of Lamb (McSweeney's, 2011)
Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007)
Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf Press, 2004)
Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000)

by this poet

For the time being
call me Home.

All the ingénues do.

Units are the engines
I understand best.

One betrayal, two.
Merrily, merrily, merrily.

Define hope.	 Machine.
Define machine.  Nope.

Like thoughts,
the geniuses race through.

If you're lucky

after a number of
revolutions, you'll

feel something catch

The photographer has been treating her like a spork all morning. “Wistful mouth, excited tail! Work it, work it!” He has no idea that even fake smiling spreads to her eyes and her tail and there’s nothing she can do about it short of severing her spine. Without asking, the assistant re-sprays her with glycerine. It


The Backyard Mermaid slumps across the birdbath, tired of fighting birds for seeds and lard. She hates those fluffed-up feathery fish imitations, but her hatred of the cat goes fathoms deeper. That beast is always twining about her tail, looking to take a little nip of what it considers a giant fish