Sad Little Breathing Machine Poems

Matthea Harvey

Graywolf Press




80 Pages



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Harvey, whose debut collection of poems was praised by The New Yorker as "intensely visual, mournfully comic, and syntactically
inventive," offers an equally stunning second collection in Sad Little Breathing Machine. Throughout this book, Harvey explores the strange and intricate mechanics of human systems—of the body, of thought, of language itself. Her poems are themselves engines—devices that, like poetry itself, propel both our comprehension and our misunderstanding. This is a poetry concerning our sense of wonder in all its guises. "If you're lucky," Harvey writes, "after a number of / revolutions, you'll / feel something catch."


Praise for Sad Little Breathing Machine

"[Reading these poems,] 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

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Matthea Harvey

  • Matthea Harvey is also the author of Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. She is the poetry editor of American Letters & Commentary and lives in Brooklyn.