Harvey, whose debut collection was praised by the New Yorker
as "intensely visual, mournfully comic and syntactically inventive," offers her second stunning collection
Units are the engines
I understand best.
One betrayal, two.
Merrily, merrily, merrily.
-from "Introduction to the World"
In Sad Little Breathing Machine, Matthea Harvey explores the strange and intricate mechanics of human systems-of the body, of thought, of language itself. These are the engines, like poetry, that propel both our comprehension and misunderstanding. "If you're lucky," Harvey writes, "after a number of / revolutions, you'll / feel something catch."
"I pictured myself arriving at an amusement park, only none of the rides are familiar. I considered running away. I could break my neck or be catapulted into the sky. I might never be seen again. It's only poetry, I reminded myself, and climbed on board. I'm tossed and bucked and jabbed and lashed and flipped. I'm having a nearly insane amount of fun, and I don't want it to ever end." --James Tate
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.04(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.95(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Sad Little Breathing Machine
By Matthea Harvey
Graywolf PressCopyright © 2004 Matthea Harvey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneINTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD For the time being call me Home. All the ingenues 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.
FIRST PERSON FABULOUS First Person fumed & fizzed under Third Person's tongue while Third Person slumped at the diner counter, talking, as usual, to no one. Third Person thought First Person was the toilet paper trailing from Third Person's shoe, the tiara Third Person once wore in a dream to a funeral. First Person thought Third Person was a layer of tar on a gorgeous pink nautilus, a foot on a fountain, a tin hiding the macaroons & First Person was that nautilus, that fountain, that pile of macaroons. Sometimes First Person broke free on first dates (with a Second Person) & then there was the delicious rush of "I this" and "I that" but then no phone call & for weeks Third Person wouldn't let First Person near anyone. Poor First Person. Currently she was exiled to the world of postcards (having a lovely time) - & even then that beast of a Third Person used the implied "I" just to drive First Person crazy. She felt like a television staring at the remote, begging to be turned on. She had so many things she wanted to say. If only she could survive on her own, she'd make Third Person choke on herself & when the detectives arrived & all eyes were on her, she'd cry out, "I did it! I did it! Yes, dahlings, it was me!" EVERYTHING MUST GO Today's class 3-Deifying: Godgrass, Godtrees, Godroad. A sheet of geese bisects the rainstorm. The water tower is ten storms full. We practice drawing cubes - that's the house squared away
& the incubator with Baby. The dead are in their grid. O the sleeping bag contains the body but not the dreaming head.
Excerpted from Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey Copyright © 2004 by Matthea Harvey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
|Introduction to the World||3|
|Life-Size Is What We Are (A New History of Photography)||5|
|To Zanzibar by Motorcar||6|
|Baked Alaska, a Theory Of||7|
|No More Frisson Please||8|
|Toe the Line with Me||9|
|If You Like Sugar I'll Like Sugar Too||10|
|Save the Originals||11|
|Sad Little Breathing Machine||12|
|Introduction to Eden||15|
|Equation with Flowers||16|
|Poem Including the Seven Deadly Sins||17|
|The Crowds Cheered As Gloom Galloped Away||18|
|Trouble in the Dyad||19|
|This Is Not a Glass Door||20|
|Our Square of Lawn||21|
|First Person Fabulous||23|
|Shiver & You Have Weather||24|
|Introduction to Circumference||27|
|Poem Including the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World||28|
|Diagram of Pretty Please||29|
|O the Zoetrope & the Periscope Should Be Friends||30|
|Sergio Valente, Sergio Valente, How You Look Tells the World How You Feel||31|
|Ideas Go Only So Far||32|
|Not So Much Miniature As Far Away||33|
|The Unconsciousness of Feelings||34|
|Introduction to Addiction||39|
|Introduction to a Diction||40|
|Grand Narrative with Chandelier||41|
|Machine for Jean Rhys||42|
|Introduction to the Swanhouse||43|
|You're Miss Reading||44|
|Definition of Weather||45|
|The Crying Fields||46|
|Address to an Absent Flea||47|
|Introduction to Narrative||51|
|Once upon a Time: A Genre Fable||52|
|Meat Ravioli vs. Spaghetti Bolognese||54|
|Sentenced: The Subject Objects to Its Long-Distance Relationship with the Object||55|
|Reverberations in the Snail / World||56|
|Color by Number||57|
|The Difference Between the Need for Consistency & the State of Expectation||58|
|The Transparent Heir Apparent||60|
|Can We See||61|
|Introduction to the End||65|
|Introduction to Disease||66|