Modern Life: Poems

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Graywolf Press, Oct 2, 2007 - Poetry - 85 pages
48 Reviews
The verse and prose poems of this third collection by Harvey shows 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 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.

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Review: Modern Life

User Review  - Cary - Goodreads

If the greatest poem in a book is the book itself, then this book is. The 'Terror of the Future' sequence is startling and sorrowful and powerful. Some words sound the same but mean different things ... Read full review

Review: Modern Life

User Review  - Melissa Barrett - Goodreads

Half of this book I lovelovelove (the Future of Terror poems and Terror of Future poems especially)--but there are a good number that I don't care for (the Roboboy poems, & the very short ones). I ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Matthea Harvey is the author of Sad Little Breathing Machine and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. She is a contributing editor at jubilat and Bomb, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Brooklyn.

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