Harvey draws from a wide variety of sources for her poems: music, scraps of conversation, images, and paintings; she identifies herself as “a general gatherer.” A reviewer on Bookslut.com commented that Harvey is equally a “conductor as she is a poet: much of her work reads as if she’s created a dazzling system and is then pushing language through the structure she’s created.”
David Orr described her poems as containing “disconnected phrases . . . abrupt syntactical shifts . . . quirky diction . . . and a tone ranging from daffy to plangent—basically two scoops of John Ashbery and a sprinkling of Gertrude Stein.” In his review of Modern Life, Orr described her ability to catch the dread of the political climate post–September 11: “Harvey’s poetry becomes a glass through which we can perceive, darkly, an even greater darkness.”
Harvey has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Warren Wilson, the Pratt Institute, the University of Houston, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been contributing editor to jubilat and BOMB. She lives in Brooklyn, and her website is www.mattheaharvey.info.