From the Publisher
“Matthea Harvey's vision of America is spooky, apocalyptic, and beautiful: proof that there is wonder in even a dark time like ours.” George Saunders
“Harvey is a master of the surprising, illuminating connection --the cognitive jump-cut . . . There is something of the Martian about Harvey . . . her disjunctions, reversals and bizarreries arise from her inquiry into the strangeness of sentience itself--how odd it is to think, feel and look.” Chicago Tribune on Sad Little Breathing Machine
The verse and prose poems of this third collection by Harvey is rife with her signature wit ("the factory puffs its own set of clouds"), darkened by an ominous sense of fearfulness in a post-9/11 world, which the poems' seeming levity tries to combat. The backbone of the collection is a pair of sequences-titled "The Future of Terror" and "Terror of the Future"-that explore those two increasingly loaded words using a clever alphabetical system with surprisingly haunting results: "We were just a gumdrop on the grid." Prose poems bookending the sequences present a fable about a lonely robot ("When Robo-Boy feels babyish, he has the option of really reverting"); a study of appetite ("Ma gave Dinna' Pig his name so that no-one would forget where that pig was headed"); an explanation of how the impossibility of mind-reading led to love ("Even when they press their ears or mouths or noses together, the skull wall is still in the way"); and an unlikely dinner ritual ("rip the silhouette from the sky and drag it inside"). A few short, lineated poems punctuate the blocks of prose: "World, I'm no one/ to complain about you." Harvey continues to match her unique sensibility with subjects that matter; her poems are both empathic and delightful. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
America is at war, and while we at home are conscious of it, most of us know little of what the troops experience in the heat of battle. In "The Future of Terror," the first sequence of her third collection (after Sad Little Breathing Machine), Harvey utilizes the beauty of poetry to paint diverse impacts of war not limited to death and destruction: e.g., "sometimes I ducked when someone hiccupped." Equally as enveloping is the second sequence, "Terror of the Future." A foil for the former, the latter collection tells the story of hope, loss, and love-it is the "after" in "happily ever after." Harvey's creativity is best exploited in these series, but the pieces in between also find their places, especially shorter works like the simplistically profound, "A Theory of Generations": "You're it/You're it/You're it." The opening poems may be daunting to some readers-they seem rather bizarre and require an elevated level of thinking-but once Harvey hits her stride, she keeps readers intrigued. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
Ashanti L. White
Read an Excerpt
There was one shot left in my rifle.
I polished my plimsolls.
I wrapped myself in a quilt.
So this is how you live in the present.
--from "The Future of Terror"