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A Poet Who Explores the Grey Areas
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Award-winning poet Matthea Harvey visits the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College on Tuesday, November 3 as the final speaker in the fall series “The Verbal and the Visual.” This event begins at 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Harvey earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.F.A in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She is the winner of the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, one of the most lucrative poetry prizes in the world, which she earned for Modern Life (Graywolf, 2007). Her other volumes of poetry include Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000), Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf, 2004), Of Lamb (McSweeney’s 2011), and If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? (Graywolf, 2014). She also published two children’s books: The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (Tin House, 2009), and Cecil the Pet Glacier (Schwartz & Wade, 2013).
Writing about Modern Life for the New York Times Sunday Book Review, poetry columnist David Orr opined that “at her best, Harvey is a soft-touch poet who has Stevie Smith’s knack for writing throwaway lines that in the end seem less like Post-it notes than ransom letters. This sly, mannered quality is coupled with an almost Victorian sense of whimsy … and balanced by a true technician’s interest in the nuts and bolts of writing.” Her poetry, he said, “becomes a glass through which we can perceive, darkly, an even greater darkness.”
More recently, reviewing If the Tabloids are True What Are You?, Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler wrote in The Los Angeles Times, “if you care about modern American poetry, you care about Matthea Harvey.” Harvey has described her own work as an exploration “in the middle of contradiction—in the grey area, between yes and no.”