poem index


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


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.

We bank sneaks do it for the back-
jumping buzz and for the poetry
of course, iamb after iamb of ka-
klink in our birdcage coffers.
The beard-jammer (that shitty
shirtrabbit) dropped from the eaves
after a whole lot of listening and squashed
my swagger in seconds. So here I am
on yonder Ponder Island, forced to

The radio animals travel in lavender clouds. They are always chattering, they are always cold. Look directly at the buzzing blur and you'll see twitter, hear flicker—that's how much they ignore the roadblocks. They're rabid with doubt. When a strong sunbeam hits the