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Seven Questions for Matthea Harvey
…I spend a lot of time writing poems, thinking about writing poems, freezing miniatures in ice cubes and photographing them, and making silhouette cutouts of mertools—a Swiss mermy knife, a merhammer, mersaw, powmercord, etc. Starting in January, I also embarked on embroidering handkerchiefs as part of a soundwalk for the Guggenheim Museum (Teletrofono, with sound artist Justin Bennett). That morphed into embroidering people’s favorite book covers onto handkerchiefs. However, this weekend, while wrapping Christmas presents, I stepped on a glass of seltzer and had to have nine stitches in my heel. As a result, I can’t quite bring myself to pick up a needle again.
3. What are your anxieties about language?
I moved from England to the U.S.A. when I was eight, so I still feel a little anxiety about saying two “t’s” as “d.” My nickname, “Matty,” caused a lot of concern when I was little. I would say it one way around my family and another way around my friends. I also can’t stand the word groovy.
4. Is there a character, a scene, a moment that you dream of conveying, but haven’t figured out how to yet?
I’ve been trying to use the street name No Swan Boulevard and a character called the Tree Bride in poems for ages, with no luck.
5. What landscape do you most often fantasize about?
If I’m not in New York, then New York City. I love the surprise of walking around Brooklyn and New York and seeing street art, posters erased by the elements, the lady who only wears green. When I’m in New York, I daydream about Iceland (where I went on my honeymoon), the Moon, and most recently, Neptune. I’m working on a poem about Neptune’s settlers who try to go back to olde worlde ways.
6. What is the last book you didn’t finish?
I almost always finish books—I can’t stand not to. But Infinite Jest has been taking me a long time and I’ve read many books in-between.