Matthea Harvey

BA, Harvard College. MFA, University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Poet, author of Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000); Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf, 2004); Modern Life (Graywolf, 2007), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, a New York Times Notable Book of 2008, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and a children’s book, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel (Soft Skull Press, 2007). Contributing editor for jubilat and BOMB. Has taught at Warren Wilson, the Pratt Institute, and the University of Houston. SLC, 2004–

Graduate Courses

Writing 2019-2020

Poetry Workshop: Metamorphosis

Workshop—Fall

Metamorphosis is a painful process. I imagine the exquisite agony of the caterpillar turning itself into a butterfly, pushing out eye-stalks, pounding its fat-cells into iridescent wing-dust, at last cracking the mother-of-pearl sheath and staggering upright on sticky, hair's-breadth legs, drunken, gasping, dazed by the light. —from The Untouchable by John Banville

He could feel his eyes leaning out of his skull on their little connectors. —from Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

In this poetry workshop, we will rigorously attend each poem’s metamorphosis, paying attention to whether it wants to sprout wings, antlers, or both. We will try to plot out the poem’s most unique path according to the signposts that the rough draft gives us. We will also read a book of contemporary poetry every other week. Students will be asked to extrapolate from those works, detailing the elasticities and limits of each poetic voice in order to further develop their own.

Faculty

Previous Courses

First-Year Studies: Forming Poetry/Poetic Form

Open , FYS—Year

Radial, bilateral, transverse: symmetries that change over a life; radical asymmetries. Sea shells unfurl by Fibonacci. Horn, bark, petal: hydrocarbon chains arrange in every conceivable strut, winch, and pylon, ranging over the visible spectrum and beyond into ultraviolet and infrared. Horseshoe crab, butterfly, barnacle, and millipede all belong to the same phylum. Earthworms with seven hearts, ruminants with multiple stomachs, scallops with a line of eyes rimming their shell like party lanterns, animals with two brains, many brains, none. —from The Gold Bug Variations, by Richard Powers

This FYS course is part workshop and part an exploration of reading and writing in established, evolving, and invented forms. We will use An Exaltation of Forms, edited by Annie Finch and Katherine Varnes (featuring essays on form by contemporary poets), alongside books by a wide array of poets and visual artists to facilitate and further these discussions. You will direct language through the sieves and sleeves of the haiku, sonnet, prose poem, ghazal, haibun, etc. Expect to move fluidly between iambic pentameter, erasures, comic poems, and the lipogram (in which you are not allowed to use a particular letter of the alphabet in your poem). Expect to complicate your notion of what “a poem in form” is. We will utliize in-class writing exercises and prompts.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Poetry Workshop: The Unknown

Workshop—Fall

What moves people’s hearts, in every case, is the unknown….If so, wouldn’t it be a good thing to unknow the world? —Kenya Hara

This is a class about curiosity and inquisitiveness, about walking forward into the unknown and backward into the unknown. We will read texts in this vein, taking inspiration from Kenya Hara’s design text, Ex-formation, and Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Students will be expected to undertake biweekly, class-created writing experiments, such as: “Go to a part of the city that you’ve never been to before. Spend one hour on a bench looking only at people’s feet. Write a poem.” Texts and themes will include: Ex-formation by Kenya Hara, Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, Time/Here by Richard McGuire, Animals/What did We Do Wrong? by Fanny Howe, Love Love, an Index by Rebecca Lindenberg, Language/Look by Solmaz Sharif, Size/Complete Minimal Poems by Aram Saroyan, and Sleep/A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam.
Faculty

The Unknown: Poetry Workshop

Workshop—Fall

What moves people’s hearts, in every case, is the unknown…. If so, wouldn’t it be a good thing to unknow the world? —Kenya Hara

This is a class about curiosity and inquisitiveness, about walking forward into the unknown and backward into the unknown. We will read texts in this vein, taking inspiration from Kenya Hara’s design text, Ex-formation, and Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Students will be expected to undertake biweekly ,class-created writing experiments, such as: Go to a part of the city that you’ve never been to before. Spend one hour on a bench looking only at people’s feet. Write a poem. Texts and themes will include: Ex-formation by Kenya Hara, Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, Time/Here by Richard McGuire, Animals/What did We Do Wrong? by Fanny Howe, Love/Love, an Index by Rebecca Lindenberg, Language/Look by Solmaz Sharif, Size/Complete Minimal Poems by Aram Saroyan, and Sleep/A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam.

Faculty